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Growth of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans on Elemental Sulfur

By Romilio T. Espejo and Pedro Romero


Growth kinetics of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans in batch cultures, containing prills of elementary sulfur as the sole energy source, were studied by measuring the incorporation of radioactive phosphorus in free and adsorbed bacteria. The data obtained indicate an initial exponential growth of the attached bacteria until saturation of the susceptible surface was reached, followed by a linear release of free bacteria due to successive replication of a constant number of adsorbed bacteria. These adsorbed bacteria could continue replication provided the colonized prills were transferred to fresh medium each time the stationary phase was reached. The bacteria released from the prills were unable to multiply, and in the medium employed they lost viability with a half-life of 3.5 days. The spreading of the progeny on the surface was followed by staining the bacteria on the prills with crystal violet; this spreading was not uniform but seemed to proceed through distortions present in the surface. The specific growth rate of T. ferrooxidans ATCC 19859 was about 0.5 day(−1), both before and after saturation of the sulfur surface. The growth of adsorbed and free bacteria in medium containing both ferrous iron and elementary sulfur indicated that T. ferrooxidans can simultaneously utilize both energy sources

Topics: General Microbial Ecology
Year: 1987
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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