Journal of Industrial Microbiology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 106–111 | Cite as

Plasmid instability in an industrial strain ofBacillus subtilis grown in chemostat culture

  • Gerard T. Fleming
  • John W. Patching


A pUB110-derived plasmid/Bacillus subtilis host combination was segregationally unstable when grown in chemostat culture with complex or minimal medium and under starch, glucose or magnesium limitation. The kinetics of plasmid loss were described in terms of the difference in growth rates between plasmid-containing and plasmid-free cells (dμ) and the rate at which plasmid-free cells were generated from plasmid-containing cells (R). Loss of plasmid-containing cells from the population was dμ dominated. Changes in medium composition and the nature of growth limitation caused variations in both dμ and R. The plasmid was most stable in glucose-limited chemostat cultures with minimal medium and least stable under starch limitation with complex complex medium. R and dμ were smaller for cultures in complex media than those in minimal media. Limitation by starch induced expression of the plasmid-encoded HT α amylase gene and was associated with increased values of R and dμ. Magnesium limitation in minimal medium caused a significant increase in dμ and a decrease in R.

Key words

Plasmid instability Chemostat culture Bacillus subtilis 







cells resistant to chloramphenicol (5 mg L−1)


cells resistant to kanamycin (5 mg L−1)


cells sensitive to chloramphenicol and kanamycin


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerard T. Fleming
    • 1
  • John W. Patching
    • 1
  1. 1.Growth and Fermentation Technology Laboratory, Department of MicrobiologyUniversity College GalwayIreland

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