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Front Microbiol. 2013 Jul 24;4:210. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00210. eCollection 2013.

A key time point for cell growth and magnetosome synthesis of Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense based on real-time analysis of physiological factors.

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Key Laboratory of Agro-biotechnology and Key Laboratory of Soil Microbiology, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University Beijing, China ; France-China Biomineralization and Nano-structure Laboratory Beijing, China.


Pure culture of magnetotactic bacteria with high magnetosome yield has been achieved for only a few strains. The major obstacles involve the nutritional requirements and culture conditions of the cells. To increase cell density and magnetosome production, it is necessary to elucidate the physiological characteristics of a particular strain during cell growth and develop an appropriate artificial control strategy. Large-scale culture of Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense strain MSR-1 was successfully performed for 48 h in a 42-L autofermentor, and several key physiological parameters were measured in real time. Maximal values of cell density (OD565) (19.4) and cell yield (dry weight) (4.76 g/L) were attained at 40 h. The key time point for cell growth and magnetosome formation was found to be 18-20 h. At this point, cells entered the log phase of growth, the maximal values of Cmag (1.78), iron content (0.47%), and magnetosome number (26 ± 3 per cell) were observed, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity began to decrease more rapidly, ATP content dropped to an extremely low level (0.17 fmol), and reducing power (NADH/NAD(+) ratio) began to increase very rapidly. Excessive levels of dissolved oxygen (≥20 ppb) and lactic acid in the medium caused notable cytotoxic effects after 20 h. Artificial control measures for fermentation must be based on realistic cell physiological conditions. At the key time point (18-20 h), cell density is high and magnetosomes have matured. The process of magnetosome synthesis involves a high consumption of ATP and reducing power, and the cells require replenishment of nutrients prior to the 18-20 h time point. Culture conditions that effectively minimize dissolved oxygen accumulation, lactic acid content, and reducing power at this point will enhance magnetosome yield without obvious inhibition of cell growth.


Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense; key time point; magnetosome synthesis; physiological features; submerged culture

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