Print this page



The Earth and the human body are of similar composition. When the earth's terrain is thrown out of balance by pollution, it manifests this imbalance with symptoms like disturbed weather patterns and acid rain. In our own bodies, the same thing happens to our inner terrain and consequently millions of people, like the planet, are now suffering from their own version of acid rain.

Darkfield Microscopy - or Live Cell Testing as it is more commonly referred to in the USA - is one of the technologies now available in Australia to assess our inner biological terrain.

This refers to the specific regulatory metabolic processes in our tissues and fluids that are either normal or disturbed and in need of assistance. There is now evidence to show that every chronically-ill person exhibits an imbalance within his or her internal environment. If the body becomes less able to carry out its transport function, toxins begin to flood the cells and tissues leading to reduced health and well-being. Darkfield Microscopy is a very quick investigative method that examines a single drop of blood using a video-enhanced microscope system. It is well suited to clinical practice as patients can view their own blood on a large colour monitor while all abnormalities can be pointed out and explanations given for what the indicators mean. The procedure provides exact evidence of the blood's composition, especially the condition of the white and red blood cells, the plasma and the microbes that exist in it.

Unlike normal pathology tests, Darkfield can detect subtle changes in the internal environment that precede a disease, thus allowing for appropriate wholistic therapies and lifestyle modification. Remember that normal pathology tests, while useful in many cases, usually only detect organ system problems once they have reached an advanced stage.


The examination of the blood using the Darkfield microscope was developed by the bacteriologist, Dr. Gunther Enderlein.

In 1916, during his research work on the causative agent of typhus, he discovered tiny moving beings in the background between the red blood cells. He was unable to account for this observation until he came across the works of Antione Bechamp (1883) who postulated that all animal and plant cells contained tiny granular particles that continued to live even while the cell was dying.

According to Enderlein this protein particle, which he named the endobiont, exerts a regulatory effect in cells and body fluids. He found that when the biological terrain became unhealthy, the endobiont underwent an upward development in size and shape. Simply stated, the endobiont is not a microbe that infects us from the outside world, but rather has been inside all mammals from birth, living with us symbiotically since ancient geological times. Like the transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde in that now famous film, Enderlein believed that the endobiont transformed itself into a toxic form when our internal terrain and homeostatic regulatory processes were out of kilter.

While you may be thinking this all sounds like a Sci-Fi movie script, very recently a Nobel Prize was awarded for a discovery very similar to that of Enderlein.

In October 1997, Stanley B. Prusiner, Professor of Neurology and Biochemistry at the University of California, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of prions. Prusiner defines a prion, as a "small proteinaceous infectious particle containing no genetic material, unlike known infectious agents like bacteria and viruses". Under normal conditions prions are innocuous, but just like the endobiont, they convert into larger, toxic, rogue protein structures when the biological terrain deteriorates. The connection between Prusiner's and Enderlein's findings are obvious. The approach is different because of the technology available now compared to that in the early 20th century. The terminology used is different, but the findings correlate and it is only a matter of putting corresponding sequences together.

Natural homeopathic remedies that Enderlein developed in his time to reduce the disease-causing stages of the endobiont are now showing therapeutic value in returning rogue prions to their benign forms. Is this more evidence that we need to go back in time to discover medicines we will use in the future?

Robert S Carson, MD, has stated, "The concepts of Enderlein and co. represent a quantum leap into 21st Century microbiology, somewhat analogous to the paradigm shift from Newtonian physics to Post-Einsteinian physics. Basic bacteriological concepts of our current medical schools may have been a useful model in the management of common infectious diseases, however, they are woefully inadequate to explain the cause of our chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. "

It has been hypothesized that changes in the biological terrain in the form of shifts toward acidic pH and increased production of free radicals may bring about changes in the harmonic resonance of electrons
in the prion leading to the development of larger rogue prions that have been linked with chronic disease development. These rogue prions or advanced endobiont structures, suggestive of a toxic terrain, can be detected in Darkfield microscopy as large rod-like structures (at 400 or 1000 X magnification - see photo H later).


Most of the blood cells in our bodies are red blood cells. Their main function is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Individuals who are healthy have round, evenly shaped red blood cells floating freely in plasma (photo A). Compare this photo with that of someone with chronic fatigue (photo B) and just look at the difference! (These photo's are of cells viewed under phase-contrast microscopy). Live Cell analysis represents an excellent investigative method of evaluating the acid-base balance, hyper-proteinaemia, the blood's degenerative tendency and possible fungal overgrowth. Let's now look more closely at how these problems are detected.


Refers to a metabolic state where low-molecular-weight proteins or excessive quantities of amino acids are dissolved in the blood. This causes red cells to rouleau (cells stacked together in chains) as seen in photo B. Red cells usually carry a positive surface charge and repel each other, freeing up their entire functional surface. However, when excessive amounts of proteins that carry negative charges are dissolved in the blood, they unite with the red blood cells. This then binds the red cells into protein-covered chains which possess only a limited capacity to take up oxygen. So poor digestion due to allergies, leaky gut, dysbiosis (imbalance in gut microflora) or simply excessive protein intake can all lead to red-blood-cell rouleau.

This leads to poor oxygen delivery to cells in organs and tissues causing fatigue, increased risk of cardiovascular embolism (blood vessel blocked by clot), circulatory disorders and degenerative tendencies in tissues.
Rouleau also points to an increased dissolution of nonmetabolized proteins in other fluid compartments within the body. Remember, that the internal body fluid compartments are a carrier of all biochemical material exchange, and the permeability of soluble substances through these compartments is inversely proportional to the protein content.

Thus, the transport of cellular material through these spaces is lowered by a high protein content. The consequences are reduced cellular respiration, oxygen starvation and the flooding of cells with metabolic toxins leading to fatigue, premature cellular aging and degeneration.

Crystalline structures seen in the Darkfield can suggest longterm hyper-proteinaemia and possible dehydration. Photo C - Darkfield and photo D - Phase Contrast provide examples of these so-named pseudo-crystals.

Pseudocrystals can appear yellow, orange, red or even brown and are nearly always associated with disturbances of various sectors of the gastro-intestinal tract, pancreas or biliary system.

Uric acid in the tissues is detected in Live Cell analysis as sharp-edged geometric yellowwhitish crystals (photo E). They are also suggestive of excessive protein intake, poor kidney function and/or dehydration.

These crystals can have a mechanical scrubbing effect in the tissues and can trigger gout. Hyper-proteinaemia can also lead to disorders associated with de-mineralisation such as osteoporosis. As mentioned above, the amino acids and small protein molecules carry negative charges and tend to combine with positively-charged minerals, leading to a lack of available minerals for the body. Excessive protein intake over the long-term will cause calcium and magnesium deficiency in the bone and cartilage, plus calcium deposits in the tissues. Calcium deposits in the blood vessels lead to vascular rigidity and arteriosclerosis (heart disease), while soft tissue deposition interferes with organ function.


The overall metabolism in the average modern human is slightly acidic due to the endogenous production of acids and our highprotein, mineral-deficient diets. In Diagram 1 the causes of excess acidity in our bodies are clearly defined. It is vital for cellular health that this excess acid is removed as the pH level inside our cells must be kept in the slightly alkaline range of 7. 28 - 7. 45 for normal cellular function to continue. In order to maintain this weak alkaline value, acid must continually be eliminated in the urine, which is why the mean urine pH value is markedly lower (more acidic) than that within the cells. The origin of the acids is shown in diagram 1. Of great interest is the connection with intestinal fermentation. This process causes excessive lactic acid production and is due to an over-consumption of sugars. Anyone with an abnormal microbe balance in their digestive tract will ferment more sugars into lactic acid. In some individuals this plays a significant role in the development of systemic acidity within the body.
Filament Formation

The rapid formation of a dense network of coarse filaments as seen in Darkfield (photo F), indicates a highly acidic tissue status. A milder acidic status is reflected by a filamentous network taking longer to form and not being as strong or as densely hatched (photo G). The majority of my clients would easily fall into this 2nd category, whereas those with serious disorders like arthritis and cancer would be reflected in photo F.
Endobiontic Infestation of Red Cells

(Formation of Bacterial Rods)
Evidence of advanced endobiontic structures (or rogue prions, as discussed earlier) also expresses the acidity of the internal terrain. It is hypothesized that once cells are inadequately supplied with oxygen and become anoxic (deprivation of oxygen), making anaerobic metabolism a necessity, lactic acid production increases and promotes the growth of higher endobiontic forms. The size of the rod forms is proportional to the toxicity of the biological terrain. People who have serious illnesses and toxic burdens within their bodies, such as heavymetal poisoning, are more likely to have very large elongated bacterial rods as seen in photo H.

Symptoms of hyper-acidity
If the kidneys are overburdened in their eliminatory function, then other eliminatory organs will be called upon to help eliminate acidic toxins. A constantly acidic urine can cause mucous membrane irritation, chronic cystitis, genital infections like thrush, and in men chronic prostate irritation. The stomach will attempt to release excessive acid by secreting hydrochloric acid even at non-digestive times. This leads to gastric and duodenal ulcers. The skin will respond by secreting acidic perspiration, leading to eczema, hypersensitive skin reactions, skin irritation and excessive sweating.

The mucous membranes of the nasal-bronchial system can also be utilised for acid secretion. This leads to increased bronchial secretion and viscous sinus mucus with a tendency to recurrent bronchitis or sinusitis or even asthma. Irritable bowel syndrome is another = expression of hyper-acidity in the gastro-intestinal tract. The body also releases excessive acid through the small intestine, which is only neutralised if there are sufficient minerals and plant fibre available to form fibre complexes, which are then excreted in the stool.


This is an area of great controversy, given that many Live Cell practitioners in the USA, who trained with the company American Biologics, believe they can see evidence of Candida albicans in the blood - as in photos I & J. However, Michael Coyle, a researcher with Nu-Life Sciences in the USA, and other Enderlein supporters believe that Candida can never be observed in its fungal phase in the bloodstream.
Michael Coyle stated in Explore journal (Vol 8 no. 3, 1997), "Candida is never observed in its fungal phase in the blood, because the blood's inherent alkalinity supports its development only to a spore stage that is too small to see in Darkfield. The primitive bacterial-phase micro-organisms (that appear as pale white balls in phase-contrast) that are mistakenly called fungus may be part of the developmental phase of a species that has a fungal variant or may culminate as a fungus, but it is an error to call it a fungus in the blood.

It follows then, that if Candida albicans appears in the blood, it may exhibit this bacterial phase rather than the fungal phase. "Personally, I have seen many people with systemic
Candidiasis who do not have any of these so-called 'white fungal balls' in their Live Cell analysis. It may be that they represent some stage of Candida development in the body.

However, many other European practitioners would also not be diagnosing Candidiasis solely on their presence. Platelet hyper activation can lead to the secretion of platelet vesicles that also appear as bubble-like white balls under phasecontrast, and these are also commonly misinterpreted as Candida by some practitioners.


The following darkfield/phase-contrast microscopy phenomena and their interpretations include the more common abnormalities I see in my practice.
Red Blood Cell Phenomena

(i) Normal Red Cells under darkfield microscopy appear as bright blue circles.
(ii) Anisocytosis
refers to any condition in which the erythrocytes (red blood cells) exhibit obvious variations in size. Microcytes are those cells smaller than normal; they have a belownormal haemoglobin content and are seen if a person is anaemic or has poor iron assimilation/status. Macrocytes are larger than normal, which is normally due to vitamin B12 and/or folic acid deficiency.
(iii) Poikilocytosis
refers to any condition in which the erythrocytes exhibit obvious variation in shape. It is largely due to the presence of excess toxins and free radicals that damage the red cell membranes. The most common poikilocytes seen are:
Pencil cells (a): are normally suggestive of trace-mineral deficiency especially of iron or zinc.
Elliptocytes (b): if greater than 20% of all red cells look like this, then suspect magnesium depletion, megaloblastic anaemia or thalassaemia.
Red cell fragments (c): if greater than 5 -10% of red cells look like this, suspect severe oxidative stress (free-radical activity) and a very strong endobiontic burden.
Lemon-shaped red blood cells (d): are common in even quite healthy individuals. They are an indicator for liver stress.
Acanthocytes (e): are red blood cells that have developed irregular spurs on their membrane surfaces. They are apparently the result of excessive cholesterol retention in the membrane, thus implicating a liver abnormality. The phenomena may also be due to changes in red cell lecithin and other phospholipids, suggesting essential fatty acid deficiency.
(iv) Annulocytes (Target Cells) are red cells with increased lecithin or cholesterol content and/or reduced haemoglobin content. The result of these changes is a cell with too much membrane for the amount of haemoglobin it contains, resulting in concentric rings of haemoglobin. The membrane changes that result in target cells can be related back to bile clearance, again a result of liver/gall bladder dysfunction. Also, look out for target cells in people with low haemoglobin and iron deficiency.
White Blood Cell Abnormalities

(a) Neutrophils
Neutrophils are the most common white cell. They increase in number during bacterial infections. The silver granular material inside these cells contains enzymes responsible for destroying foreign material like fungi and bacteria. They normally contain up to 5 lobes in nuclei which are visible on the monitor.
(b) Eosinophils
Increased numbers normally indicate an immune system challenge. This can be due to allergy or infection with yeast or parasites. They have larger and brighter granulation within their cytoplasm compared to neutrophils, and have a bi-lobed rather that multilobed nucleus.
(c) Lymphocytes
Increased numbers are indicative of viral infections.
(d) Monocytes
Are larger white cells with a typically C-shaped nucleus. An increased number of monocytes is not as common as a high neutrophil count and is more frequently seen when there is a monocytic leukaemia or a chronic bacterial or protozoan infection.


(a) Neutrophils
Inactivity: healthy neutrophils should move around in an amoebic manner, exhibiting sparkling or streaming within the cytoplasm. They should appear to have irregular shapes that indicate activity, so those cells that are round without any cytoplasmic movement indicate low activity and poor immune surveillance.
Cohesion: observation of more than 3 neutrophils aggregating together is due to an elevation in poorly-digested (acute
phase) proteins, as occurs in allergy and leaky gut. The same factors which cause red blood cells to rouleau will cause cohesion of white blood cells. Hyper-segmentation of nuclei: more than 5 lobes in the nuclei indicates immature neutrophils. This is normally indicative of vitamin B12 and/or folic acid deficiency.
(b) Lymphocytes
During viral infections the lymphocytes undergo enlargement. Bright and luminescent inclusions can also be commonly seen in the cytoplasm of the cell, indicating current or chronic viral
exposure. However, it is not possible to differentiate between viruses such as Ross River, Epstein-Barr or Herpes that may be responsible for these infections.


Many natural-medicine practitioners utilise the Haemaview system that allows for most of the basic interpretations to be assessed. Live Cell practitioners (often with more powerful microscopic technology) can also use phase-contrast microscopy, and greater magnification can see more cellular detail and detect smaller structures in the blood. Many Live Cell practitioners, including myself, also perform the Dry Layer Blood Test (sometimes called the Bolans Clot Retraction Test or HLB blood test). I plan to discuss the information you can derive from this test in the next issue.

It is worth noting that there are two systems of interpreting Darkfield. What has been presented in this article is a ncomposite between the Enderlein (German) system and the Bradford- American Biologics School. Both systems have similarities and merit, however, there is little emphasis on acidic/alkaline assessment in the American system. If you are interested in the acidic/alkaline perspective, I would recommend asking the practitioner what system of interpretation he/she uses and where they did their training. It has been my experience that most Live Cell practitioners in Australia primarily use the American system. Live Cell practitioners can be located through natural-medicine associations such as ANTA, ATMS & CMA. Having used this technology in my practice since late 1993, I can testify that Live Cell Analysis and the Dry Layer Blood Test provide hard evidence of physiological damage in our bodies prior to the development of pathology and disease. The tests provide us with visual evidence nof a need to make lifestyle changes before harmful practices lead to illness.


Platelets facilitate blood clotting. In their inactivated state they circulate freely, and under Darkfield microscopy appear as sparkling discs. When they become activated, platelets discharge the contents of their granules, inducing local constriction of blood vessels. The platelets also become sticky and begin to aggregate together, forming clumps that have the potential to completely block capillaries and larger blood vessels. Platelet aggregation is often visible in people who have symptoms associated with poor circulation and high blood pressure. Mild to moderate platelet aggregation can be simply due to a sudden dose of stress.
More severe aggregation (as in photo J) will lead to increasing risk of vascular occlusions/thromboembolisms and other cardiovascular events.

While it is difficult to isolate causes, serious aggregation is often due to long-term inflammatory factors like cigarette smoking, recurrent infections, cancer, chronic stress or a hypersensitive immune system associated with allergies, leaky gut or Candida.

Christopher Manton,
B.App.Sci., Dip.Ed., M.Nutr & Dietetics., Ass.Dip.Nat., Nutritional Biochemist, is the director of The Health Detective Pty Ltd.
He is qualified in clinical nutrition and naturopathy and runs a
practice in nutritional biochemistry using Darkfield Microscopy and the Bolans Clot Retraction Blood Test.
Enquiries can be forwarded to the clinic at 2/372 Anzac parade Kingsford, NSW 2032.
Phone 02 9662 4634 (BH).