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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Mar;63(3):1002-5.

Resuscitation of Vibrio vulnificus from the Viable but Nonculturable State.


Like many other gram-negative bacteria, the human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus is induced into a viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state by incubation at low temperatures. The ability of any bacterium to resuscitate from this dormant state would appear to be essential if the VBNC state is truly a survival strategy. The question as to whether the culturable cells which appear following removal of the inducing stress are a result of true resuscitation or of regrowth of a few residual culturable cells has long been debated. V. vulnificus was examined for its ability to resuscitate from this state following a temperature upshift. Several lines of investigation, including dilution studies, determination of the time necessary for appearance of a culturable population, and the effects of nutrient on recovery, all indicated that, at least for V. vulnificus, true resuscitation does occur. Our studies further suggest that nutrient is in some way inhibitory to the resuscitation of cells in the VBNC state and that studies which add nutrient in an attempt to detect resuscitation are able to detect only residual culturable cells which might be present and which were not inhibited by the added nutrient.


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