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Ammonium and attachment of Rhodopirellula baltica

MPS-Authors
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Frank,  C. S.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Langhammer,  P.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Fuchs,  B. M.
Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Harder,  J.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Frank, C. S., Langhammer, P., Fuchs, B. M., & Harder, J. (2011). Ammonium and attachment of Rhodopirellula baltica. Archives of Microbiology, 193(5), 365-372.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C995-4
Abstract
A dimorphic life cycle has been described for the planctomycete Rhodopirellula baltica SH1T, with juvenile motile, free-swimming cells and adult sessile, attached-living cells. However, attachment as a response to environmental factors was not investigated. We studied the response of R. baltica to nitrogen limitation. In batch cultures, ammonium limitation coincided with a dominance of free-swimming cells and a low number of aggregates. Flow cytometry revealed a quantitative shift with increasing ammonium availability, from single cells towards attached cells in large aggregates. During growth of R. baltica on glucose and ammonium in chemostats, an ammonium addition caused a macroscopic change of the growth behaviour, from homogeneous growth in the liquid phase to a biofilm on the borosilicate glass wall of the chemostat vessel. Thus, an ammonium limitation—a carbon to nitrogen supply ratio of 30:1—sustained free-living growth without aggregate formation. A sudden increase in ammonium supply induced sessile growth of R. baltica. These observations reveal a response of Rhodopirellula baltica cells to ammonium: they abandon the free-swimming life, attach to particles and form biofilms.