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J Appl Microbiol. 1997 May;82(5):610-4.

The effects of growth dynamics upon pH gradient formation within and around subsurface colonies of Salmonella typhimurium.

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School of Pure and Applied Biology, University of Wales College of Cardiff, UK.


pH measurements made in and around submerged colonies of Salmonella typhimurium grown within a model gelatin gel system using pH-sensitive micro- and macroelectrodes indicated some pH heterogeneity occurring in and around the bacterial colony. Inoculation density, initial pH and glucose concentration were all found to influence colony diameter and metabolism of Salmonella colonies. Colony growth in the presence of glucose, at pH 7.0 with an inoculation density of 1 cell ml-1 led to a pH fall of 1-2 pH units after 2 d. At pH 5.0, with glucose, colony growth rates were much slower than at pH 7.0, and the pH change varied by less than one pH unit often becoming alkaline. In the absence of glucose, only small pH changes were observed within the medium, although growth rates were similar to those in glucose-containing media. At the higher inoculation density (ca 1000 cells ml-1), isolated pH changes were not observed. Morphological changes, such as the production of annular rings, were noted in stationary phase colonies as was alkali production in colonies. These results are discussed in relation to observations with surface colonies.

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