Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 409–420 | Cite as

Toxothrix trichogenes (Chol.) Beger et Bringmann: The organism and its biology

  • J. M. Krul
  • P. Hirsch
  • J. T. Staley


Toxothrix trichogenes (Chol.) Beger et Bringmann was found in iron-containing spring water, in tap water, and in a small forest pond of lower Michigan.

The use of a partially submerged microscope for continuous observation of undisturbed underwater “Aufwuchs” on glass slides resulted in the rediscovery of the actualToxothrix organisms: long, often U-shaped and highly flexible bacterial filaments. Direct observation of their growth and movements on immersed glass slides revealed the production byToxothrix trichomes of several slime strands which were typically twisted. Fan-shaped slime structures and parallel tracks were directly seen to be formed by U-shaped organisms as a result of the forward gliding and rolling of their center portion. Chemical iron deposition onto the individual slime strands of such tracks rendered these rigid and brittle; the iron deposition also proceeded in the absence of living trichomes.

The trichomes disintegrated rapidly and completely during laboratory observations, althoughToxothrix trichomes were kept viable for several months in refrigerated state. Disintegration under the normal light microscope explains their absence from most stranded “sheaths” studied by previous investigators.


Iron Light Microscope Glass Slide Direct Observation Chol 
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Copyright information

© Swets & Zeitlinger 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Krul
    • 1
  • P. Hirsch
    • 1
  • J. T. Staley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Public HealthMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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