In soils, IMC has been used to investigate many different processes. Rong et al. (2007) identified three major types of IMC studies involving soils. These are: (1) the detection and quantification of microbial activities, (2) the monitoring of organic pollutant toxicity and degradation and (3) the risk assessment associated with heavy metal
(and metalloid) contamination. With respect to the detection and quantification of microbial activities, it was shown buy Dabrafenib that viable cell counts of bacteria and fungi were significantly correlated to IMC-measured heat production (Critter et al., 2002). It was also observed that soil oxygen consumption (i.e. respiration) was highly correlated with heat production when samples were amended with glucose. Such correlations were used to estimate soil microbial biomass (Sparling, 1983; Raubuch & Beese, 1999). In addition to soil biomass estimation, Barros et al. (1999) were able to determine an ‘apparent’ microbial growth rate constant of the microbial populations in different soil samples. The same group also showed that an increasing microbial density resulted in a lower heat production rate per cell. They interpreted the observed negative correlation as indicating a change in microbial strategy toward a more efficient metabolism (Barros et al., 2003). Unfortunately, to our knowledge, no studies performed in soils compared the activity of dehydrogenases
(using tetrazolium salts) to activities measured using microcalorimetry. Finally, use of IMC has been demonstrated GSK126 in vitro to be a sensitive tool for studying composting processes (Laor et al., 2004). Nevertheless, in both soil and compost, it was
shown that particular attention needed to be paid to methodological aspects such as sample sieving, homogenization and sterilization to avoid systematic errors (Medina et al., 2009; Wadsö 2009). The previously described studies with sediments emphasize the great versatility of IMC with respect to the nature of the samples that can be evaluated. They also indicate the potential for using different types of media in IMC; for example, utilization of solid culture media has only begun to be explored. Solid media have been shown Thiamine-diphosphate kinase to be especially useful to facilitate growth of fungi in IMC ampoules and thus enable faster, more accurate studies (Wadsöet al., 2004). For fastidious microorganisms, microorganisms that are difficult to grow in liquid media and filamentous organisms that are difficult to quantify by absorbance, IMC provides a simple and sensitive method to quantify growth. IMC is a promising tool for medical and environmental microbiology and other areas such as food microbiology. The availability of multicalorimeter instruments allows one to explore many different experimental conditions (except temperature) at once and/or evaluate many replicate specimens at the same time.