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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 Jan;266(1):60-4.

Microscopical investigation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) granule formation in Azotobacter vinelandii.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Universität Stuttgart, Germany.


Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) granule formation in Azotobacter vinelandii was investigated by laser scanning fluorescence microscopy after staining the cells with Nilered and Baclight. Cells that had been starved for a carbon source for > or =3 days were almost free of PHB granules. Formation of visible PHB granules started within 1-2 h after transfer of the cells to a medium permissive for PHB accumulation. Fluorescent PHB granules at the early stages of formation were exclusively found in the cell periphery of the 2-3 mum ovoid-shaped cells. After 3 h of PHB accumulation or later, PHB granules were also found to be detached from the cell periphery. Our results indicate that PHB granule formation apparently begins at the inner site of the cytoplasmic membrane. This finding is different from previous assumptions that PHB granule formation occurs randomly in the cytoplasm of PHB-accumulating bacteria.

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