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Non-linear population dynamics in chemostats associated with live-dead cell cycling in Escherichia coli strain K12-MG1655
Lookup NU author(s)
Dr Ernest Chi Fru
Professor Vasile Lavric
Dr David Graham
Chi-Fru E, Ofiteru ID, Lavric V, Graham DW
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
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Bacterial populations conditionally display non-linear dynamic behaviour in bioreactors with steady inputs, which is often attributed to varying habitat conditions or shifting intracellular metabolic activity. However, mathematical modelling has predicted that such dynamics also might simply result from staggered birth, growth, and death events of groups of cells within the population, causing density oscillations and the cycling of live and deal cells within the system. To assess this prediction, laboratory experiments were performed on
strain K12-MG1655 grown in chemostats to first define fine-scale population dynamics over time (minutes) and then determine whether the dynamics correlate with live-dead cell-cycles in the system.
populations displayed consistent oscillatory behaviour in all experiments. However, close synchronisation between OD
and live-dead cell oscillations (within ~33-38 minute cycles) only became statistically significant (
< 0.01) when pseudo-steady state operations approaching carrying capacity existed in the reactor. Specifically, live cells were highest at local OD
maxima and lowest at local OD
minima, showing that oscillations followed live-dead cell cycles as predicted by the model and also consistent with recent observations that death is non-stochastic in such populations. These data show that oscillatory dynamic behaviour is intrinsic in bioreactor populations, which has implications to process operations in biotechnology.
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