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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1984 Aug;26(8):877-84.

A finite representation model for an asynchronous culture of E. coli.

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School of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.


A computer model is described which models an asynchronous population of E. coli by using a large, but finite number of representative single cells. Asynchrony generation and maintenance occurs at the single cell level by modulating the activity of an enzyme responsible for septum formation. Such modulation introduces cycle time imprecision and does not require the introduction of any new parameters into the single-cell model. Based on comparisons to experiment, reasonable predictions are possible for changes of cellular dry weight during exponential growth and turbidostat washout, and overall chemostat cell yields and changes in cell number, glucose concentration, and cell size distribution for a chemostat subject to a step change in dilution rate. Additionally, a correlation between cell RNA content and size is predicted as is an inertial effect when chemostat residence time is decreased under conditions of initially high glucose concentrations. Limitations imposed by the model's finite nature and their solutions are discussed.


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