Current Microbiology

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 60–65 | Cite as

Effect of the Volume-to-Surface Ratio of Cultures on Escherichia coli Growth: An Experimental and Theoretical Analysis



The growth dynamics of bacterial populations are usually represented by the classical S-shaped profiles composed of lag, exponential and stationary growth phases. Although exceptions to this classical behavior occur, they are normally produced under non-standard conditions such as supply of two carbohydrates as sole carbon source. However, we here report variations in the classic S-shaped growth profiles of Escherichia coli under standard culturing conditions; explicitly, we found growth during transition to the stationary phase wherein the bacterial growth rate inversely depended on the volume-to-surface ratio of cultures (V/S); the reasons for this behavior were experimentally explored. To complement our experimental analysis, a theoretical model that rationalizes the bacterial response was developed; simulations based on the developed model essentially reproduced experimental growth curves. We consequently conclude that the effect of V/S on E. coli growth reflects an interplay between auto-catalytic bacterial growth, bacterial growth auto-inhibition, and, the relief of that inhibition.

Supplementary material

284_2012_128_MOESM1_ESM.doc (174 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 173 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haydee Martínez
    • 1
  • Thomas Buhse
    • 2
  • Marco Rivera
    • 1
  • Guadalupe Ayala
    • 3
  • P. Parmananda
    • 4
  • Joaquín Sánchez
    • 5
  1. 1.Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Autónoma del Estado de MorelosCuernavacaMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigaciones QuímicasUniversidad Autónoma del Estado de MorelosCuernavacaMexico
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación sobre Enfermedades Infecciosas INSPCuernavacaMexico
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsIIT, BombayMumbaiIndia
  5. 5.Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad Autónoma del Estado de MorelosCuernavacaMexico

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