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Appl Environ Microbiol. May 1994; 60(5): 1421–1429.
PMCID: PMC201498

Effect of Motility on Surface Colonization and Reproductive Success of Pseudomonas fluorescens in Dual-Dilution Continuous Culture and Batch Culture Systems


The colonization of glass surfaces by motile and nonmotile strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens was evaluated by using dual-dilution continuous culture (DDCC), competitive and noncompetitive attachment assays, and continuous-flow slide culture. Both strains possessed identical growth rates whether in the attached or planktonic state. Results of attachment assays using radiolabeled bacteria indicated that both strains obeyed first-order (monolayer) adsorption kinetics in pure culture. However, the motile strain attached about four times more rapidly and achieved higher final cell densities on surfaces than did the nonmotile strain (2.03 × 108 versus 5.57 × 107 cells vial-1) whether evaluated alone or in cocultures containing motile and nonmotile P. fluorescens. These kinetics were attributed to the increased transport of motile cells from the bulk aqueous phase to the hydrodynamic boundary layer where bacterial attachment, growth, and recolonization could occur. First-order attachment kinetics were also observed for both strains by using continuous-flow slide culture assays analyzed by image analysis. The DDCC system contained both aqueous and particulate phases which could be diluted independently. DDCC results indicated that when cocultures containing motile and nonmotile P. fluorescens colonized solid particles, the motile strain replaced the nonmotile strain in the system over time. Increasing the aqueous-phase rates of dilution decreased the time required for extinction of the nonmotile strain while concurrently decreasing the overall carrying capacity of the DDCC system for both strains. These results confirmed that bacterial motility conveyed a selective advantage during surface colonization even in aqueous-phase systems not dominated by laminar flow.

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