In or on agar media, low-density seedings of enterobacteria fail to grow in the presence of certain concentrations of ethylene diamine-di-hydroxyphenyl acetic acid (EDDA); on the other hand, high-density seedings not only grow but secrete iron chelators which release the iron bound by the EDDA in the medium and stimulate the growth of low-density seedings.

Plates of media containing EDDA with low-density seedings of indicator organisms were used to survey iron-chelator production in seven enterobacterial genera, including a number of virulent smooth (S) forms from which rough (R) mutants had been obtained. An examination of over 80 strains of and species indicated that the iron chelators from bacteria in all these genera were functionally interchangeable.

Chelator production was equally good with randomly selected avirulent and virulent strains of spp. and ; and with the S forms and their avirulent R mutants in one pair of escherichiae, six pairs of salmonellae (4 species) and six pairs of shigellae (3 species). As determinable , the capacity to synthesise iron chelators is clearly no index of the capacity of a strain to proliferate .


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