Summary: During germination, arthrospores passed through three stages: darkening, swelling and germ tube emergence. The first stage, darkening, whose main features were a decrease in absorbance and a loss of refractility, only required exogenous divalent cations (Ca, Mg or Fe) and energy that can be obtained from the spore reserves. This stage was blocked by agents that inhibit ATP formation but not by antibiotics that inhibit macromolecular synthesis. The second stage, swelling, needed an exogenous carbon source and was not blocked by mitomycin C. In this stage, the spores exhibited the highest cytochrome oxidase and catalase activities and respiratory quotient. The last stage, germ tube emergence, required additional carbon and nitrogen sources. Ammonium compounds were superior to nitrate. Dry weight remained constant during the stages of darkening and swelling, with a rapid increase from the moment of germ tube emergence. Optimum pH and temperature for germination were 8.0 and 45 °C, respectively. Heat treatment (55 °C for 10 min) had no effect on germination.

The fine structure of the spore underwent important changes during germination. The wall of the swollen spore became stratified and the inner layer was continuous with the germ tube wall.

Macromolecular synthesis occurred in the sequence RNA, protein and then DNA. Rifampicin, streptomycin and mitomycin C prevented synthesis when added at the start of incubation. The same effect was obtained if the addition was made during germination, except with mitomycin C which inhibited DNA, but not RNA and protein synthesis.


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