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Arch Microbiol. 1994;161(4):286-92.

The adaptive acid tolerance response in root nodule bacteria and Escherichia coli.

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Nitrogen Fixation Research Group, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Murdoch University, Western Australia.


Root nodule bacteria and Escherichia coli show an adaptive acid tolerance response when grown under mildly acidic conditions. This is defined in terms of the rate of cell death upon exposure to acid shock at pH 3.0 and expressed in terms of a decimal reduction time, D. The D values varied with the strain and the pH of the culture medium. Early exponential phase cells of three strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum (WU95, 3001 and WSM710) had D values of 1, 6 and 5 min respectively when grown at pH 7.0; and D values of 5, 20 and 12 min respectively when grown at pH 5.0. Exponential phase cells of Rhizobium tropici UMR1899, Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110 and peanut Bradyhizobium sp. NC92 were more tolerant with D values of 31, 35 and 42 min when grown at pH 7.0; and 56, 86 and 68 min when grown at pH 5.0. Cells of E. coli UB1301 in early exponential phase at pH 7.0 had a D value of 16 min, whereas at pH 5.0 it was 76 min. Stationary phase cells of R. leguminosarum and E. coli were more tolerant (D values usually 2 to 5-fold higher) than those in exponential phase. Cells of R. leguminosarum bv. trifolii 3001 or E. coli UB1301 transferred from cultures at pH 7.0 to medium at pH 5.0 grew immediately and induced the acid tolerance response within one generation. This was prevented by the addition of chloramphenicol. Acid-adapted cells of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii WU95 and 3001; or E. coli UB1301, M3503 and M3504 were as sensitive to UV light as those grown at neutral pH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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