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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983 Mar;45(3):868-71.

Light as an energy source in continuous cultures of bacteriorhodopsin-containing halobacteria.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain.


The role of light as an energy source for slightly aereated cultures of halobacteria was studied, using continuous cultures with low nutrient concentrations and a low oxygen supply. A series of experiments were carried out with non-illuminated and differently illuminated cultures and with different oxygen transfer rates. Under low oxygen availability, light proved to be a decisively important energy source that allowed the populations to reach higher growth rates and much higher population densities. Oxygen influenced the growth over only a minimal level, below which neither the illuminated nor the dark cultures were affected by the oxygen transfer rate. From these results, it appears that the bacteriorhodopsin-mediated energy supply could have a very important role for the ecology of halobacteria in their microaerophilic habitats. In the illuminated cultures, cells that originated purple colonies on plates appeared. These cells, which could be bacteriorhodopsin-constitutive mutants, are now being studied.


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