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Sporulation of Clostridium cellulolyticum while Grown in Cellulose-Batch and Cellulose-Fed Continuous Cultures on a Mineral-Salt Based Medium

Abstract : Clostridium cellulolyticum sporulation was investigated during growth on cellulose ®bers in a mineral-salt based medium which corresponds to conditions linked to its natural ecological niche. At steady state of the continuous cultures under limitation and with an excess of cellulose and/or ammonium, bacterial cells mainly sporulated at low dilution rates (D), at least 10% sporulation being observed at the lowest D tested. Increasing the cellulose concentration in the feed-medium reservoir increased the percentage of spores in the bioreactor. It appeared that the remaining undigested cellulose could serve as an exogenous carbon source supply at a continuous but limited rate throughout the sporulation process. In addition to the proportion of carbon and nitrogen, the in¯uence of the environmental pH on spore formation was studied. In cellulose-fed continuous cultures at a constant D and a pH decreasing from 7.2 to 6.4, the percentage of spores increased to 14% at the lowest pH tested. When C. cellulolyticum was grown in batch culture, the level of sporulation was dramatically higher in unregulated-pH fermentation compared to pH-controlled growth conditions at pH 7.2 since in the former it reached 45% within 5 days of cultivation. It then appeared that a low speci®c growth rate and a low environmental pH in the presence of an insoluble carbon substrate were the major factors inducing sporulation in C. cellulolyticum. Furthermore, since the spores adhere to the carbon substrate (the cellulose) the bacteria gain advantages when the environment allows germination thanks to the recovery of suitable growth conditions. By allowing the maintenance and the integrity of the bacteria in the microbiota, spore formation could then explain the successful survival of C. cellulolyticum in cellulosic anaerobic habitats where low environmental pH conditions are often found.
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Mickael Desvaux, H. Petitdemange. Sporulation of Clostridium cellulolyticum while Grown in Cellulose-Batch and Cellulose-Fed Continuous Cultures on a Mineral-Salt Based Medium. Microbial Ecology, Springer Verlag, 2002, 43 (2), pp.271-279. ⟨10.1007/s00248-001-0043-7⟩. ⟨hal-02910789⟩

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