Morphological and viability changes in Escherichia coli and E. coli O157: H7 cells upon rapid shift from 6 °C to 37 °C.

Visvalingam, J., Gill, C.O., and Holley, R.A. (2013). "Morphological and viability changes in Escherichia coli and E. coli O157: H7 cells upon rapid shift from 6 °C to 37 °C.", Food Microbiology, 34(1), pp. 95-99. doi : 10.1016/j.fm.2012.11.021  Access to full text

Abstract

Cells in log phase cultures of Escherichia coli ATCC 23739 and E. coli O157:H7 02:0627 incubated at 6 °C for 8 days grew by elongation and the formation of filaments. When suspensions of cells from the cultures were incubated at 37 °C for 4 h, there was little or no change in mean cell lengths during the first hour of incubation; but subsequently the fractions of elongated (>4 ≤ 10 μm) or filamentous (>10 μm) cells declined with the most cells being of normal size (≤4 μm) after 3 h. LIVE/DEAD BacLight staining indicated that ≥94% of cells were alive after all times at 37 °C. Direct observation of cells on slides incubated at 37 °C, from culture incubated at 6 °C for 5 days, showed that few or no cells of normal size divided. Elongated cells of both strains, and filamentous cells of E. coli ATCC 23739 divided to multiple daughter cells; but filamentous cells of E. coli O157:H7 lysed. The results indicate that abrupt shifts of log phase E. coli from refrigeration to warm temperatures lead to inactivation of some cells and division of others to multiple daughter cells, and suggest that the extents of these opposing responses may vary widely among strains.

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