Starved bacteria retain their size but lose culturability - Lessons from a 5000 years old undisturbed A-horizon

Mette Vestergård, Flemming Ekelund, Anne Winding, Carsten Suhr Jacobsen, Søren Christensen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

6 Citationer (Scopus)


The vast majority of soil bacteria are unable to form visible colonies on agar media. One hypothesis is that unculturable soil bacteria are dwarf cells that may either be small starved forms derived from larger species or represent inherently small species. We test the hypotheses that cells of extremely starved soil bacterial communities are smaller and less culturable than cells of bacterial communities from a richer soil, and that culturability is related to cell size by comparing an extremely starved community from a 5200-year-old A-horizon buried under a burial mound with a community from a modern agricultural A-horizon.We serially filtered cell suspensions through filters with successively smaller pore sizes (0.8 μm, 0.6 μm and 0.4 μm) and assessed total cell number and culturability, i.e. the ability to form colonies on two types of agar media, in each size fraction. Cell size distributions were assessed in unfiltered suspensions. Average cell size was only moderately reduced in the starved community, where culturability was low for all size classes. In contrast, culturability was much higher in the modern community, where culturability decreased dramatically with decreasing cell sizes.

Sider (fra-til)1379-1382
Antal sider4
TidsskriftSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Udgave nummer6
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2011


  • Programområde 2: Vandressourcer


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Starved bacteria retain their size but lose culturability - Lessons from a 5000 years old undisturbed A-horizon'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.