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Rev Argent Microbiol. 1999 Oct-Dec;31(4):201-4.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates degradation affects survival of Pseudomonas oleovorans in river water microcosms.

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  • 1Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Bacterial survival in natural environments involves the ability of scavenging nutrients and energy sources. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are intracellular polymers that endow bacteria with enhanced survival capabilities in adverse environmental conditions. In this paper we compared survival of Pseudomonas oleovorans wild type and PHA depolymerase mutant strains in natural river waters by using microcosms. Experiments were performed with water samples collected from the Rio de la Plata. The survival of the P. oleovorans strain capable of degrading PHA was higher in raw river water compared to the depolymerase negative mutant strain. Bacterial numbers decreased during the experiment. At the end of the experiment, the difference in the number of cells between wild type and mutant strains was of 3 orders of magnitude. Mutants deficient in PHA degradation are useful to study the importance of reserve polymers in the survival of bacterial species in natural environments. They could also provide an adequate system for the analysis of the role of PHA in the tolerance to physical or chemical stress agents.

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