While microscopy is an extremely important tool in investigating microbial instablilities, it is not usually sufficient on its own. Its advantages include that:

  • It gives quick results compared with viable plating
  • It allows you to distinguish between microbial and other deposits
  • It is useful for determining size, shape and organisation of microbial cells

However microscopic examination does not usually give sufficient information to identify the microorganisms responsible for an instability. For example, most yeast found in wine are ovoid to spherical in shape, so examination of them under the microscope does not enable species identification.