Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 596–601 | Cite as

Cryptic growth within a binary microbial culture

  • M. Katherine Banks
  • James D. Bryers
Environmental Microbiology


The ability of viable cells of the species Pseudomonas putida and Hyphomicrobium sp. to metabolize the particulate and soluble cellular organic constituents of both species was studied in a series of batch experiments. Both P. putida and Hyphomicrobium sp. were grown in individual batch reactors on either the 14C-labelled soluble or the particulate debris of sonicated cells of each species derived from steady-state chemostat cultures. Cell generation times (tg)observed for P. putida cultivated on soluble organic material originating from either sonicated P. putida or Hyphomicrobium sp. cells, were tg= 2.0 h and tg= 6.3 h, respectively. Corresponding tgvalues of Hyphomicrobium sp. on soluble organic material originating from sonicated P. putida and Hyphomicrobium so. were, respectively, 11.6 h and 4.3 h. While particulate debris originating from either species was solubilized by both P. putida and Hyphomicrobium sp., no increases in cell numbers were observed for either species. The data indicate that bacteria are capable of scavenging soluble material released upon cell lysis at near maximal rates; solubilization of debris also occurred but at much slower overall rates with no observable cell replication. The results reaffirm that cryptic growth and turnover of cellular biomass can be significant under situations of low substrate flux or starvation conditions.


Batch Reactor Pseudomonas Putida Cell Replication Chemostat Culture Starvation Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bryers JD, Mason CA (1987) Biopolymer particulate turnover in biological waste treatment systems: a review. Bioproc Eng 2:95–109Google Scholar
  2. Drozd JW, Linton JD, Downs J, Stephenson RJ (1978) An in situ assessment of the specific lysis rate in continuous cultures of Methylococcus spp. (NCIB 11083) grown on methane. FEMS Microbiol Lett 4:311–314Google Scholar
  3. Gräzer-Lambart SD, Egli Th, Hamer G (1986) Growth of Hyphomicrobium ZV620 in the chemostat: regulation of NH4 assimilation enzymes and cellular composition. J Gen Microbiol 132:3337–3347Google Scholar
  4. Hobbie JE, Daley RJ, Jasper S (1977) Use of nuclepore filters for counting bacteria by fluorescence microscopy. Appl Environ Microbiol 33:1225–1228PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. McEldowney S, Fletcher M (1987) Adhesion of bacteria from mixed cell suspension to solid surfaces. Arch Microbiol 178:57–68Google Scholar
  6. Mason CA, Hamer G (1987) Cryptic growth in Klebsiella pneumoniae. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 25:577–584Google Scholar
  7. Mason CA, Hamer G, Bryers JD (1986a) The death and lysis of microorganisms in environmental processes. FEMS Microbiol Rev 39:373–401Google Scholar
  8. Mason CA, Bryers JD, Hamer G (1986b) Activity, death, and lysis during microbial growth in a chemostat. Chem Eng Commun 45:163–176Google Scholar
  9. Molin G, Nilsson I (1983) Effect of different environmental parameters on the biofilm buildup of Pseudomonas putida ATCC 11172 in chemostats. J Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 18:114–119Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Katherine Banks
    • 1
  • James D. Bryers
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.The Center for Biochemical EngineeringDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations