Viability and isolation of marine bacteria by dilution culture: theory, procedures, and initial results.

Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.95). 03/1993; 59(3):881-91.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Dilution culture, a method for growing the typical small bacteria from natural aquatic assemblages, has been developed. Each of 11 experimental trials of the technique was successful. Populations are measured, diluted to a small and known number of cells, inoculated into unamended sterilized seawater, and examined three times for the presence of 10 or more cells per ml over a 9-week interval. Mean viability for assemblage members is obtained from the frequency of growth, and many of the cultures produced are pure. Statistical formulations for determining viability and the frequency of pure culture production are derived. Formulations for associated errors are derived as well. Computer simulations of experiments agreed with computed values within the expected error, which verified the formulations. These led to strategies for optimizing viability determinations and pure culture production. Viabilities were usually between 2 and 60% and decreased with >5 mg of amino acids per liter as carbon. In view of difficulties in growing marine oligobacteria, these high values are noteworthy. Significant differences in population characteristics during growth, observed by high-resolution flow cytometry, suggested substantial population diversity. Growth of total populations as well as of cytometry-resolved subpopulations sometimes were truncated at levels of near 10 cells per ml, showing that viable cells could escape detection. Viability is therefore defined as the ability to grow to that population; true viabilities could be even higher. Doubling times, based on whole populations as well as individual subpopulations, were in the 1-day to 1-week range. Data were examined for changes in viability with dilution suggesting cell-cell interactions, but none could be confirmed. The frequency of pure culture production can be adjusted by inoculum size if the viability is known. These apparently pure cultures produced retained the size and apparent DNA-content characteristic of the bulk of the organisms in the parent seawater. Three cultures are now available, two of which have been carried for 3 years. The method is thus seen as a useful step for improving our understanding of typical aquatic organisms.

Download full-text


Available from: Frits Schut, Nov 22, 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Populations of bacterial cells that grow under the same conditions and/or environments are often considered to be uniform and thus can be described by ensemble average values of their physiologic, phenotypic, genotypic or other parameters. However, recent evidence suggests that cell-to-cell differences at the gene expression level could be an order of magnitude greater than previously thought even for isogenic bacterial populations. Such gene expression or transcriptional-level heterogeneity determines not only the fate of individual bacterial cells in a population but could also affect the ultimate fate of the population itself. Although techniques for single-cell gene expression measurement in eukaryotic cells have been successfully implemented for a decade or so, they have only recently become available for single bacterial cells. This is due to the difficulty of efficient lysis of most bacterial cells, as well as short half-life time (low stability) of bacterial mRNA. In this article, we review the recent progress and challenges associated with analyzing gene expression levels in single bacterial cells using various semi-quantitative and quantitative methods. In addition, a review of the recent progress in applying microfluidic devices to isolate single bacterial cells for gene expression analysis is also included.
    Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 04/2014; DOI:10.3109/07388551.2014.899556 · 7.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Actinobacteria of the acI lineage are often the numerically dominant bacterial phylum in surface freshwaters, where they can account for > 50% of total bacteria. Despite their abundance, there are no described isolates. In an effort to obtain enrichment of these ubiquitous freshwater Actinobacteria, diluted freshwater samples from Lake Grosse Fuchskuhle, Germany, were incubated in 96-well culture plates. With this method, a successful enrichment containing high abundances of a member of the lineage acI was established. Phylogenetic classification showed that the acI Actinobacteria of the enrichment belonged to the acI-B2 tribe, which seems to prefer acidic lakes. This enrichment grows to low cell densities and thus the oligotrophic nature of acI-B2 was confirmed.
    Environmental Microbiology Reports 02/2014; 6(1):21-7. DOI:10.1111/1758-2229.12104 · 3.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The deeply branching clade of abundant, globally distributed aquatic α-Proteobacteria known as "SAR11", are adapted to nutrient-poor environments such as the surface waters of the open ocean. Unknown prior to 1990, uncultured until 2002, members of the SAR11 clade can now be cultured in artificial, defined media to densities three orders of magnitude higher than in unamended natural media. Cultivation in natural and defined media has confirmed genomic and metagenomic predictions such as an inability to reduce sulfate to sulfide, a requirement for pyruvate, an ability to oxidize a wide variety of methylated and one-carbon compounds for energy, and an unusual form of conditional glycine auxotrophy. Here we describe the metabolism of the SAR11 type strain Candidatus "Pelagibacter ubique" str. HTCC1062, as revealed by genome-assisted studies of laboratory cultures. We also describe the discovery of SAR11 and field studies that have been done on natural populations.
    The Journal of Microbiology 04/2013; 51(2):147-53. DOI:10.1007/s12275-013-2671-2 · 1.53 Impact Factor