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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Nov;29(5):286-91.

Effect of starvation length upon microbial activity in a biomass recycle reactor.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The kinetics of substrate degradation and bacterial growth was determined in a microbial community from a biomass recycle reactor that had been deprived of substrate feed for 0-32 days. Starvation caused changes in bacterial numbers, community composition, and physiological state. Substrate starvation for less than 1 day resulted in modest (less than threefold) changes in endogenous respiration rate, ATP content, and biomass level. During a starvation period of 32 days, there were substantial changes in microbial community composition, as assessed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting of PCR amplicons of a portion of the 16S rDNA or by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. When the starved communities were stimulated with organic nutrients, the growth kinetics was a function of the length of the starvation period. For starvation periods of 2-8 days prior to nutrient addition, there was a phase of suboptimal exponential growth (S-phase) in which the exponential growth rate was about 30% of the ultimate unrestricted growth rate. S-phase lasted for 2-8 h and then unrestricted growth occurred at rates of 0.3-0.4 h(-1). At starvation times of 12 and 20 days, a lag phase preceded S-phase and the unrestricted growth phase.

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