, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 57-64

Electron microscope study of the interaction of epibiontic bacteria withChromatium minus in natural habitats

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Epibiontic cells on the surface of the photosynthetic purple sulfur bacteriumChromatium minus, collected several times during the year from 3 different Spanish lakes, were examined using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The cells attached to theC. minus cell wall by an electron-dense pad, but did not enter the cell. They were ovoidal (about 0.6Μm wide) when free, and slightly curved rods (0.3×0.6Μm) when undergoing division. Division only occurred when cells remained attached toChromatium. A septum was formed, resulting in 2 or 3 curved rods surrounded by a common capsule. Detached daughter cells became ovoidal.

The host ultrastructure changed as a result of epibiontic attachment, showing symptoms of cellular degradation. Simultaneously, plaques could be detected on cell lawns formed spontaneously upon cell sedimentation from field samples.