Quellung phenomenon



A biochemical reaction in which anticapsular antibodies bind to the capsule of a bacterium, resulting in the capsule to swell or become more visible, especially through the microscope.


It is done especially with bacteria that form capsules, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. The capsule becomes more conspicuous under a microscope after the capsular antigen has combined with a specific antibody.

Word origin: German quellung for "swelling"


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