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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983 Jan;45(1):43-7.

Responses of marine bacteria under starvation conditions at a solid-water interface.

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  • 1School of Microbiology, The University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales 2033, Australia.


Size changes during starvation of 17 marine bacterial isolates at a solid-water interface and in the liquid phase were examined. Twelve rod-shaped, hydrophilic bacteria decreased in size more rapidly at the solid surface than in the liquid phase, a result parallel to that observed previously for one of the strains at an air-water interface. On the other hand, three rod-shaped, hydrophobic bacteria diminished in size more rapidly in the liquid phase than at the solid-water interface. The rapid size decrease (defined here as the dwarfing phase) in either situation appeared to be an active process which occurred more rapidly when the cells were in an early stage of logarithmic growth at the onset of starvation. Dwarfing was reversibly inhibited by low temperature and low pH but was not inhibited by chloramphenicol. Three coccoidal bacteria showed little tendency to become smaller upon starvation in the liquid phase or at a surface.

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