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J Infect Chemother. 2000 Jun;6(2):121-5.

Viable but nonculturable bacteria: a survival strategy.

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University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Center of Marine Biotechnology, Columbus Center, 701 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, USA.


When bacteria are introduced into a new environment, environmental changes with which they are confronted may include temperature, nutrient concentration, salinity, osmotic pressure, and pH. Bacterial cells dynamically adapt to these shifts in their environment, employing a variety of genetic mechanisms. Bacteria, with the ability to utilize constitutive and inducible enzyme synthesis, can accommodate to growth-limiting nutrients and adjust or reroute metabolic pathways to avoid metabolic and/or structural disruption caused by specific nutrient limitations. Furthermore, they are able to coordinate their rates of synthesis to maintain their cellular structure and function. These adaptive capabilities provide bacterial cells with an extraordinary set of mechanisms by which they are able to respond to their surrounding environment and survive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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