Saturday 28 December 2013

Bacteria grow faster if they feed each other

Symbiotic relationships with bacteria are prevalent. Arguably, in the course of evolution, an association may get so close that the mutualistic partners merge into a new, multicellular organism.

This is the view of researchers from Research Group Experimental Ecology and Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and their colleagues at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. The research team studied bacteria that were deficient in the production of a certain amino acid and therefore depended on a partner to provide the missing nutrient.

The researchers found that bacterial strains that complemented each other's need by providing the required amino acid showed a fitness increase of about 20% relative to a non-deficient strain without partner.

For further details see:

Samay Pande, Holger Merker, Katrin Bohl, Michael Reichelt, Stefan Schuster, Luís F de Figueiredo, Christoph Kaleta, Christian Kost. Fitness and stability of obligate cross-feeding interactions that emerge upon gene loss in bacteria. The ISME Journal, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2013.211

Posted by Tim Sandle

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