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Can J Microbiol. 1978 Feb;24(2):89-104.

The response of cell walls of Bacillus subtilis to metals and to electron-microscopic stains.


Purified cell walls of Bacillus subtilis were subjected to solutions of 40 independent metals and the metal uptake, the electron-scattering power of thin sections, and the type of staining response evaluated. This was repeated for six typical electron-microscopic stains (uranyl acetate, uranyl magnesium acetate, osmium tetroxide, Os-meth, osmium-dimethylethylenediamine, and ruthenium red) and one new staining reagent (a potassium platinum chloride - dimethylsulfoxide complex) whose specificity is for amine functions. The reaction of select metals can be specific in terms of both uptake and staining response. Of the metals studied most transition elements had a high affinity for the wall fabric and some (i.e., Sc III, most lanthanides, UIV, ZrIV,HfIV, Fe III, Pd II, Ru III, and In III) may be suitable as contrasting agents for electron microscopy. Furthermore, when the thickness of metal-reacted walls was compared to freeze-each and ultracryotomy data, statistical-dimensional differences were commonly seen, which indicates that wall ultrastructure can be profoundly affected by the type of metal and (or) staining reagent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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