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A Highly Specific Growth-inhibitory Factor produced by Certain Acetobacter Species


RECENT studies1 with a cellulose-producing culture of Acetobacter acetigenum NCIB 8132 revealed that this culture contained mutant organisms which were unable to produce extracellular cellulose (celluloseless mutants). Their presence in the wild-type culture was indicated by a mass-plating technique in which a large inoculum from a cellulose-producing culture was spread on the surface of glucose (3 per cent, w./v.), ‘Difco’ yeast-extract (0.5 per cent, w./v.) (GYE) medium (pH 7.0) containing agar (2 per cent, w./v.) ; mutant organisms showed a different colony type and a faster growth-rate than wild-type organisms. In GYE liquid medium parent organisms produced a cellulose pellicle, the medium under the pellicle remaining virtually clear. In contrast, mutant organisms grew diffusely in liquid medium and produced a moderate degree of turbidity. Despite the fact that mutant organisms could be detected in wild-type cultures by the mass-plating procedure, all our attempts to isolate mutants from cellulose-producing cultures by the indirect-select ion method of Lederberg and Lederberg2 have been unsuccessful. The present work was undertaken in an attempt to clarify this contradictory behaviour.

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  1. Steel, R., and Walker, T. K., J. Gen. Microbiol. (in the press).

  2. Lederberg, J., and Lederberg, E. M., J. Bact., 63, 399 (1952).

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STEEL, R., WALKER, T. A Highly Specific Growth-inhibitory Factor produced by Certain Acetobacter Species. Nature 180, 811–812 (1957).

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