Flagella Stain

The flagella stain allows observation of bacterial flagella under the light microscope.  Bacterial flagella are normally too thin to be seen under such conditions. The flagella stains employs a mordant to coat the flagella with stain until they are thick enough to be seen.  These staining techniques are typically very difficult. Because of this, you will not be performing a flagella stain this semester, but there are prepared slide of flagella stains available for you to view.

Many bacteria are motile; some accomplish this motility by means of flagella.  Flagella can vary by number and location. Some bacteria only have one flagella; this is called monotrichous.  In most monotrichous bacteria, the flagella is at the end of the cell; this placement is called polar. Some bacteria have a flagella at either end of the cell; this arrangement is called amphitrichous. Many bacteria have multiple flagella; these may all be located in a tuft at one end of the cell, in which case the arrangement is lophotrichous, or they may be all over the cell, in which case the arrangement is peritrichous.

The staining procedure is here.


flagella stain