Amyloid deposits are associated with an increasing number of human disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Recent studies provide compelling evidence for the existence of amyloid-like conformations in the insoluble bacterial inclusion bodies (IBs) produced during the recombinant expression of amyloidogenic proteins. This makes prokaryotic cells a physiologically relevant system to study the mechanisms of in vivo amyloid deposition. We show here that the application of flow cytometry to detect Thioflavin-S (Th-S) fluorescence provides a fast, robust, quantitative, non-invasive method to screen for the presence of in vivo intracellular amyloid-like aggregates in bacteria, with potential application in the analysis of the impact of genetic mutations or chemical compounds on the aggregation of disease-associated polypeptides. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.