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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Jun;49(6):1356-60.

Study of Bacillus subtilis Endospores in Soil by Use of a Modified Endospore Stain.

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Microbiology Program, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.


The Schaeffer-Fulton endospore stain was modified so that it would stain Bacillus subtilis endospores in soil smears. The modified stain differentiated among dormant spores, spores undergoing activation, and spores which had germinated but had not yet shown outgrowth. These differentiations were seen for spores in soil and for pure spore preparations in the laboratory. This stain was used to show reversible B. subtilis spore activation promoted by an Ensifer adhaerens-like indigenous bacterium in soil and by pure cultures of E. adhaerens added to spores in the laboratory. Under the specific conditions in the laboratory, spore germination did not proceed beyond the activation stage, and relatively little change occurred in the numbers of both E. adhaerens and B. subtilis. This was also true in soil, although some germination with destruction of spores and vegetative cells did occur if the soil had been nutritionally enriched by preincubation with incorporated ground alfalfa.


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