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Microb Ecol. 1989 Nov;18(3):199-210. doi: 10.1007/BF02075808.

Detachment ofPseudomonas fluorescens from biofilms on glass surfaces in response to nutrient stress.

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Department of Applied Microbiology and Food Science, University of Saskatchewan, S7N 0W0, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


The effects of glucose and nitrogen depletion on the colonization of glass Petri plates byPseudomonas fluorescens were studied in batch culture. Colonization of the surfaces was initiated before colonization of the bulk phase, and biofilm formation was observed. This resulted in an apparent lag in the batch growth curve for the cell suspension. The lag phase was an artifact caused by the partitioning of cells between the bulk and solid phase of the culture and was not due to a reduction in the growth rate of unattached cells. The specific growth rate of the unattached cells (0.331 hour(-1)) was almost twice that determined for the total population (0.171 hour(-1)). Consequently the growth rate of biofilm-forming bacteria cannot be determined in batch culture unless the growth of both attached and unattached cells is monitored, and batch growth curves may contain artifacts due to the formation and dispersion of biofilms. The depletion of either glucose or nitrogen led to the active detachment of cells from the biofilm. An increase in the hydrophobicity of unattached cells was noted on depletion of carbon. This increase was the result of emigration of cells from the surface into the bulk phase.


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