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J Bacteriol. Oct 1980; 144(1): 114–123.
PMCID: PMC294601

Are growth rates of Escherichia coli in batch cultures limited by respiration?


Batch cultures of Escherichia coli were grown in minimal media supplemented with various carbon sources which supported growth at specific growth rates from 0.2 to 1.3/h. The respiration rates of the cultures were measured continuously. With few exceptions, the specific rate of oxygen consumption was about 20 mmol of O2/h per g (dry weight), suggesting that the respiratory capacity was limited at this value. The adenosine triphosphate (ATP) required for the production of cell material from the different carbon sources was calculated on the basis of known ATP requirements in the biochemical pathways and routes of macromolecular synthesis. The calculated ATP requirements, together with the measured growth rates and growth yields on the different carbon sources, were used to calculate the rate of ATP synthesis by oxidative phosphorylation. This rate was closely related to the respiration rate. We suggest that aerobic growth of E. coli in batch cultures is limited by the rate of respiration and the concomitant rate of ATP generation through oxidative phosphorylation.

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Selected References

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