The dynamics of bacterial spore germination were successfully observed using a fast Raman imaging system, in combination with real-time phase contrast microscopy. By using a multifocus scan scheme, the spontaneous Raman-scattering imaging acquisition speed was increased to ~30 s per frame while maintaining diffraction-limited resolution, which allowed monitoring of the dynamics of spore germination on a time scale of tens of seconds to a few minutes. This allowed simultaneous gathering of rich spatial distribution information on different cellular components including time-lapse molecular images of Ca-dipicolinic acid, protein, and nucleic acid during germination of single bacterial spores for the periods of 30 to 60 min.
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