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Appl Environ Microbiol. Jan 1989; 55(1): 246–251.
PMCID: PMC184086

Effect of visible light on progressive dormancy of Escherichia coli cells during the survival process in natural fresh water.

Abstract

Some effects of visible light on the survival of Escherichia coli in waters of the Butrón river were studied by comparing illuminated and nonilluminated systems. The following count methods were used: CFU on a selective medium (eosin-methylene blue agar), CFU on a medium of recuperation (Trypticase soy agar with yeast extract and glucose), number of metabolically active cells by reduction of 2-(p-iodophenyl)-3-(p-nitrophenyl)-5-phenyl tetrazolium chloride (INT) to INT-formazan, and total number of E. coli cells as determined by the acridine orange direct-count method. In the illuminated systems, decreases in CFU of E. coli and in the number of metabolically active cells were observed. However, no decline of the total number of E. coli cells was observed. By count methods, different stages of progressive dormancy of E. coli cells were determined to exist in illuminated systems. Culturable and recoverable cells were defined as viable cells, and metabolically active cells and morphologically intact cells were defined as somnicells. Indirect activity measurements were also done by using [14C]glucose. In illuminated systems, a decrease of glucose uptake by E. coli cells was observed throughout the experiments. The assimilated fraction of [14C]glucose decreased faster than the respired fraction in illuminated systems. The percentage of respired [14C]glucose (14CO2 production) with respect to the total glucose uptake increased throughout the experiments, and the percentage of assimilated glucose decreased. Therefore, the visible light was also responsible for an additional inhibition of biosynthetic processes.

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Selected References

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