Adaptive characteristics of salt-induced myceloids of Arthrobacter globiformis

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When Arthrobacter globiformis is grown in medium containing increased concentrations of NaCl or decreased levels of cations, the bacteria grow as clusters of branching myceloid cells. The sensitivities of salt-induced and citrate-induced myceloids to several environmental stresses were compared to those of normal exponential-phase bacilli and stationary-phase cocci. Salt-induced myceloids were more resistant than normal cells to ultraviolet light or heat shock at 45°C but not to osmotic upshock or pH 4.3; citrate-induced myceloids showed an intermediate rate of heat inactivation. Carbon or nitrogen starvation of myceloids in the absence of added NaCl or citrate led to their division into single cells. Both myceloids and the single cells derived from them were more resistant than normal bacteria to nitrogen starvation. Salt-induced and citrate-induced myceloids showed reduced metabolism of many different carbon compounds in Biolog™ GP plates. These studies suggest that the formation of multicellular structures by A. globiformis is an adaptive response which increases its potential for survival.

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