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J Bacteriol. Dec 1995; 177(23): 6791–6797.
PMCID: PMC177544

Analysis of cell size and DNA content in exponentially growing and stationary-phase batch cultures of Escherichia coli.


Escherichia coli strains were grown in batch cultures in different media, and cell size and DNA content were analyzed by flow cytometry. Steady-state growth required large dilutions and incubation for many generations at low cell concentrations. In rich media, both cell size and DNA content started to decrease at low cell concentrations, long before the cultures left the exponential growth phase. Stationary-phase cultures contained cells with several chromosomes, even after many days, and stationary-phase populations exclusively composed of cells with a single chromosome were never observed, regardless of growth medium. The cells usually contained only one nucleoid, as visualized by phase and fluorescence microscopy. The results have implications for the use of batch cultures to study steady-state and balanced growth and to determine mutation and recombination frequencies in stationary phase.

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Selected References

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