SUMMARY: When first isolated on soil extract agar, soil actinomycetes consistently produce aerial spores in surface colonies. They retain this property when maintained in sterile soil, or when grown on washed suspensions of common soil bacteria, living or dead, in a water agar medium. In soil, when the composition, moisture content and temperature are kept constant, the initial stimulus towards the production of aerial mycelium is free access of air: the quantity and nature, vegetative or sporogenous, of the inoculum, and, within a broad range, the pH of the soil are of minor importance. Once growth is established, the next most important factor stimulating sporulation in the soil is also physical, namely dehydration. In natural and sterilized soils of different origins, and in a ‘Synthetic’ soil containing 250 p.p.m. of nitrogen as nitrate, the modes of growth of different actinomycetes strains are similar, and generally uncharacteristic of their species.


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