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Microb Ecol. 2002 Jan;43(1):34-43. Epub 2001 Nov 22.

Eco-physiological characterization of soil bacterial populations in different states of growth.

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Dipartimento di Agrobiologia e Agrochimica, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Via S.C. De Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.


The method based on characterization of microbial populations in terms of their growth rate in agar plates has been used for testing the prediction of the theory of r- and K-selection in a microbial community from a tropical soil. Conditions which could lead bacterial populations to grow exponentially or to enter into a stationary phase were obtained by growing soil microbial populations in a chemostat and in a chemostat with recycle, respectively. Significant differences in population distribution patterns were observed by comparing results from the two growth systems. When soil community was grown in a chemostat and subjected specifically to well-defined r- and K-conditions, stable associations of organisms with r- and K-type characteristics developed as a consequence of environmental pressure. In contrast, when cultivated in chemostat with recycle under the same r- and K-conditions imposed on chemostat cultures, distribution patterns of r- and K-selected populations appeared very little affected by changes in substrate availability.

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