Chapter 27 : Why I Am Amazed by Simple Things

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In this section the author expresses his primordial awe for one of the simplest experiments in bacterial physiology that is done over and over in laboratories. It is the measurement of the growth of a bacterial culture in a liquid medium. One can get an instantaneous reading simply by determining the turbidity of the culture at different times using a common light-measuring device such as a colorimeter. In addition to enjoying the delights of Copenhagen, the author became involved in research on bacterial growth physiology using the enteric bacterium . The increase in the number of cells, on the other hand, did not proceed at the new rate until quite some time later. Cultures were set up in a collection of different media that supported various growth rates, from the slowest to the fastest attainable in that laboratory. It was found that the concept that the polymerizing machinery of bacteria performs at unit rates is also true for the biosynthesis of DNA, RNA, and cell wall constituents. This finding demonstrates the economy that bacteria exhibit in adapting to different growth environments.

Citation: Schaechter M. 2000. Why I Am Amazed by Simple Things, p 212-218. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch27
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Citation: Schaechter M. 2000. Why I Am Amazed by Simple Things, p 212-218. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch27
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1. Schaechter, M.,, G. Medoff,, and B. Eisenstein. 1998. Mechanisms of Microbial Disease, 3rd ed. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.
2. Schaechter, E. 1997. In the Company of Mushrooms. A Biologist's Tale. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass..
3. Neidhardt, F. C.,, R. Curtiss, III,, J. L. Ingraham,, E. C. C. Lin,, K. B. Low,, B. Magasanik,, W. S. Reznikoff,, M. Riley,, M. Schaechter,, and H. E. Umbarger (ed.). 1996. Escherichia coli and Salmonella: Cellular and Molecular Biology, 2nd ed. ASM Press, Washington, D.C..
4. Neidhardt, F. C.,, J. L. Ingraham,, and M. Schaechter. 1990. Physiology of the Bacterial Cell. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Mass..
5. Schaechter, M.,, F. C. Neidhardt,, J. Ingraham,, and N. O. Kjeldgaard (ed.). 1985. The Molecular Biology of Bacterial Growth. Jones & Bartlett, Boston, Mass. .
6. Abe, M.,, C. Brown,, W. Henderickson,, D. Boyd,, P. Clifford,, R. Cote,, and M. Schaechter. 1977. The release of E. coli DNA from membrane complexes by single strand endonucleases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 74: 2756 2760.
7. Green, E. W.,, and M. Schaechter. 1972. The mode of segregation of the bacterial cell membrane. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 69: 2312 2316.
8. Schaechter, M. 1963. Bacterial polyribosomes and their participation in protein synthesis in vitro. J. Molec. Biol. 7: 561 568.
9. Koch, A. L.,, and M. Schaechter. 1962. A model for statistics of the cell division process. J. Gen. Microbiol. 29: 435 454.
10. Schaechter, M.,, O. Maaloe,, and N. O. Kjeldgaard. 1958. Dependency on medium and temperature of cell size and chemical composition during balanced growth of Salmonella typhimurium. J. Gen. Microbiol. 19: 592.

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