Friday, 8 September 2017

How big bacteria can grow depends on how much fat they can make


Bacterial cells in carbon-rich media grow twice as big as those in carbon-poor media. New research shows they can grow big, however, only if they can make fats with the carbon. The membrane that defines the boundary between the inside and outside of the cell is made almost entirely of fat. So it's not really surprising that fat synthesis would limit cell size.

Scientists grew the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium in more than 20 different media with varying nutrient compositions. In the nutrient-poor media, the cells grew slowly and were small; in the nutrient-rich media, they grew faster and were larger.

What’s the reason? See:

Stephen Vadia, Jessica L. Tse, Rafael Lucena, Zhizhou Yang, Douglas R. Kellogg, Jue D. Wang, Petra Anne Levin. Fatty Acid Availability Sets Cell Envelope Capacity and Dictates Microbial Cell SizeCurrent Biology, 2017; 27 (12): 1757 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.076

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle