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Appl Microbiol. 1972 Aug;24(2):258-63.

Repair of injury induced by freezing Escherichia coli as influenced by recovery medium.


Freezing an aqueous suspension of Escherichia coli NCSM at -78 C for 10 min, followed by thawing in water at 8 C for 30 min, resulted in the death of approximately 50% of the cells, as determined by their inability to form colonies on Trypticase soy agar containing 0.3% yeast extract (TSYA). Among the survivors, more than 90% of the cells were injured, as they failed to form colonies on TSYA containing 0.1% deoxycholate. Microscope counts and optical density determinations at 600 nm suggested that death from freezing was not due to lysis of the cells. Death and the injury were accompanied by the loss of 260- and 280-nm absorbing materials from the intracellular pool. Injury was reversible as the injured cells repaired in many suitable media. The rate of repair was rapid and maximum in a complex nutrient medium such as Trypticase soy broth supplemented with yeast extract. However, inorganic phosphate, with or without MgSO(4), was able to facilitate repair. Repair in phosphate was dependent on the pH, the temperature, and the concentration of phosphate.

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