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Field Study Comparing Growth and Viability of a Population of Phototrophic Bacteria

By Carol L. Folt, Mary Jo Wevers, Michael P. Yoder-Williams and Richard P. Howmiller


The growth and viability of an anoxygenic, phototrophic bacterial community in the hypolimnion of Zaca Lake, Calif., were compared throughout the summer. The community is dominated by a single species, “Thiopedia rosea,” that inhabits the entire hypolimnion (6 to 8 m) for approximately 11 months. Suboptimal conditions in the hypolimnion (extremely low light intensity, high or low H(2)S levels) result in zero or extremely low growth rates (doubling times > 1 month) for most of the population, most of the time, yet cells remain viable and capable of high specific growth rates (doubling times of 1 to 10 days) when placed under favorable conditions (higher light intensities and temperatures). We first conclude that phototrophic bacterial populations in situ may frequently exist in a viable yet nongrowing state. Second, the viability of cells is likely to be reduced with depth owing to higher concentrations of potentially toxic chemicals and to changes in the physiological state associated with the prolonged periods of darkness commonly found at the bottom of bacterial plates

Topics: General Microbial Ecology
Year: 1989
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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