Pleomorphism of the marine bacterium Teredinobacter turnirae

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Aims:A morphology transition for the marine bacterium, Teredinobacter turnirae is reported.Methods and Results:When grown in the rod-shaped morphology, the cells require high concentrations of NaCl (0·3 mol l–1) and secrete extracellular protease and endoglucanase activity. When this bacterium is grown in a medium containing casein as a sole carbon and nitrogen source, a major change in morphology to a stable aggregated form is obtained.Conclusions:In the aggregated morphology, much higher protease production rates (170 Units ml–1 d–1 for aggregates vs. 15 Units ml–1 d–1 for rods, for the same initial biomass) and negligible endoglucanase titres are obtained. In addition, the aggregated morphology does not require sodium chloride for growth.Significance and Impact of the Study:The phenomenon reported here describes a novel relationship between the cell morphology and the biochemical characteristics of the bacterium.

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