The Biolog EcoPlate™ was created specifically for community analysis and microbial ecological studies. It was originally designed at the request of a group of microbial ecologists that had been using the Biolog GN MicroPlate™, but wanted a panel that provided replicate sets of tests.
Community analysis using the Biolog MicroPlates was originally described in 1991 by J. Garland and A. Mills . Researchers found that by inoculating Biolog GN MicroPlates with a mixed culture of microorganisms and measuring the community fingerprint over time, they could ascertain characteristics about that community of microbes. This approach, called community–level physiological profiling, has been demonstrated to be effective at distinguishing spatial and temporal changes in microbial communities. In applied ecological research, the MicroPlates are used as both an assay of the stability of a normal population and to detect and assess changes following the onset of an environmental variable.
Studies have been done in diverse applications of microbial ecology and have demonstrated the fundamental utility of Biolog MicroPlates in detecting population changes in soil, water, wastewater, activated sludge, compost, and industrial waste. The utility of the information has been documented in over 500 publications using Biolog technology to analyze microbial communities.