In microbiology, a colony-forming unit (CFU, cfu, Cfu) is a unit used to estimate the number of viable bacteria or fungal cells in a sample. Viable is defined as the ability to multiply via binary fission under the controlled conditions. Counting with colony-forming units requires culturing the microbes and counts only viable cells, in contrast with microscopic examination which counts all cells, living or dead. The visual appearance of a colony in a cell culture requires significant growth, and when counting colonies it is uncertain if the colony arose from one cell or a group of cells. Expressing results as colony-forming units reflects this uncertainty.