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Starvation-Induced Effects on Bacterial Surface Characteristics

By Staffan Kjelleberg and Malte Hermansson


Changes in bacterial surface hydrophobicity, charge, and degree of irreversible binding to glass surfaces of seven marine isolates were followed during starvation. The degree of hydrophobicity was measured by hydrophobic interaction chromatography and by two-phase separation in a hexadecane-water system, whereas changes in charge were measured by electrostatic interaction chromatography. All isolates underwent the starvation-induced responses of fragmentation, which is defined as division without growth, and continuous size reduction, which results in populations with increased numbers of smaller cells. The latter process was also responsible for a significant proportion of the total drop in cell volume; this was observed by noting the biovolume (the average cell multiplied by the number of bacteria) of a population after various times of starvation. Four strains exhibited increases in both hydrophobicity and irreversible binding, initiated after different starvation times. The most hydrophilic and most hydrophobic isolates both showed a small increase in the degree of irreversible binding after only 5 h, followed by a small decrease after 22 h. Their hydrophobicity remained constant, however, throughout the entire starvation period. On the other hand, one strain, EF190, increased its hydrophobicity after 5 h of starvation, although the degree of irreversible binding remained constant. Charge effects could not be generally related to the increase in irreversible binding. Scanning electron micrographs showed a large increase in surface roughness throughout the starvation period for all strains that showed marked changes in physicochemical characteristics

Topics: General Microbial Ecology
Year: 1984
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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