In order to enhance the quality and safety of bottled natural mineral waters, new methodologies besides classical bacteriology have been evaluated. Multi laser flow cytometry has been used to identify bacterial populations based on their DNA content, physiological activity and phylogeny from in situ hybridization with rRNA targeted DNA probes. Due to the low content of organic material in these waters, the bacterial population are under conditions (low ribosome content, low activity, etc.) which makes it hard to detect them flow cytometrically. The numbers of bacteria are in the range between 1000 and 100,000 per ml (for uncarbonated waters). Filtration techniques to enrich the bacterial population have been developed in combination with specific staining and hybridization protocols. First results on some selected brands show, that most bacteria belong to the beta subclass of proteobacteria. If the DNA containing cells (DAPI staining) are counted as 100%, 84% could be stained with a eubacteria probe. From these 84% 68% belong to the beta subclass, 8.2% to the alpha and 0.3% to the gamma subclass of roteobacteria. 8.5% could be identified as cytophaga flexibacter. By optimizing DNA staining with cyanine dyes and enhancing the sensitivity of light scatter detection, the detection limit could be considerably lowered.