A technique was developed to study microcolony formation by silicone-immobilized bacteria on polycarbonate membrane filters under anaerobic conditions. A sudden shift to anaerobiosis was obtained by submerging the filters in medium which was depleted for oxygen by a pure culture of bacteria. The technique was used to demonstrate that preinduction of nitrate reductase under low-oxygen conditions was necessary for nonfermenting, nitrate-respiring bacteria, e.g., Pseudomonas spp., to cope with a sudden lack of oxygen. In contrast, nitrate-respiring, fermenting bacteria, e.g., Bacillus and Escherichia spp., formed microcolonies under anaerobic conditions with or without the presence of nitrate and irrespective of aerobic or anaerobic preculture conditions
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