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J Microbiol Methods. 2009 Aug;78(2):189-94. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2009.05.017. Epub 2009 May 30.

Preservation of bacteria in natural polymers.

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Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, United States.


A new inexpensive and simple method for preserving microorganisms has been developed. Natural polymers of acacia gum and pullulan were used to preserve model bacteria Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis via immobilization and storage under various conditions. Formulation of E. coli and B. subtilis in acacia gum significantly increased the viability of both cultures during desiccation at 40 degrees C as well as during the storage at various temperatures and relative humidity. In the ranges of temperatures and humidity used in experiments, the high humidity affected the viability of E. coli more than high temperature. Thermodynamic parameters for E. coli thermal degradation were used for quantification of results and characterization of the preservation process. Viability of B. subtilis in acacia gum polymer was not significantly changed during the storage in the temperature and humidity experiments. The number of viable B. subtilis recovered after storage in pullulan, and in PBS under various humidity conditions was 1-2 logs less in comparison with the number of cells before storage. It was found that acacia gum provides better protection than pullulan for both bacteria during the preservation process.

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