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178. Alef, K. and D. Kleiner. 1989. Rapid and sensitive determination of microbial activity in soils and in soil aggregates by dimethylsulfoxide reduction.. Biol. Fert. Soils 8:349-355.
Based on the reduction of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) to dimethylsulfide (DMS) by microorganisms, a simple, rapid, sensitive and inexpensive method for the determination of microbial activity in soil samples was developed. When DMSO was added to samples, DMS appeared immediately in the gas phase, which was quantitatively analyzed by gas chromatography. The DMS liberation rate was constant for several hours. The reaction immediately starts and its linearity indicate that neither the physiological state nor the number of organisms were changed by the assay. The method is sufficiently sensitive to allow measurements of activity in very small samples.