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Extremophiles

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 163–168 | Cite as

Cells of Pseudomonas putida and Enterobacter sp. adapt to toxic organic compounds by increasing their size

  • Grit Neumann
  • Y. Veeranagouda
  • T. B. Karegoudar
  • Özlem Sahin
  • Ines Mäusezahl
  • Nadja Kabelitz
  • Uwe Kappelmeyer
  • Hermann J. Heipieper
Original Paper

Abstract

The phenol-degrading solvent-tolerant bacterium Pseudomonas putida P8 changed its cell shape when grown in the presence of aromatic compounds such as phenol and 4-chlorophenol. The sizes of cells that had been growing after addition of different concentrations of the toxic compounds were measured using a coulter counter that calculates the sizes of the rod-shaped bacteria to diameters of virtual spheres. The cells showed an increase in the diameter depending on the toxic effects of the applied concentrations of both solvents. The same effect was measured for an alkanol degrading bacterium, Enterobacter sp. VKGH12, in the presence of n-butanol. The reaction of the cells to different concentrations of n-butanol was examined by scanning electron microscopy. With this technique it could be shown that the size of the bacteria increased with increasing concentrations of n-butanol. These changes in cell size were dependent on the cellular activity and occurred only after addition of non-lethal concentrations. In the presence of lethal concentrations that completely inhibited cell growth, the cell sizes were similar to those of cells without intoxication. Taking into account the mathematical formula for spherical and cylindrical diameter and surface, respectively, the cells reacted to the presence of organic solvents by decreasing the ratio between surface and volume of the cells and therefore reducing their relative surfaces. As the cell surface and especially the cytoplasmic membrane are the major targets for the toxic effects of membrane-active compounds, this reduction of the relative surface represents an adaptive response to the presence of such compounds.

Keywords

Microbial adaptation Toxic organic solvents Cell size Coulter counter Scanning electron microscopy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by Contract No. QLRT-2001-00435 of the European Commission within its Fifth Framework Programme. Özlem Sahin was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), reference number D/03/3146/1.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grit Neumann
    • 1
  • Y. Veeranagouda
    • 2
  • T. B. Karegoudar
    • 2
  • Özlem Sahin
    • 1
  • Ines Mäusezahl
    • 1
  • Nadja Kabelitz
    • 1
  • Uwe Kappelmeyer
    • 1
  • Hermann J. Heipieper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BioremediationCentre for Environmental Research (UFZ) Leipzig-HalleLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryGulbarga UniversityGulbargaIndia

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