Germinating spores of pass through three morphological stages: darkening, swelling and germ tube emergence. The process of germination has pH and temperature optima of 8.0 and 40 °C, respectively, and is not affected by activation treatments. Darkening, accompanied by a loss of heat resistance and refractility and a decrease in absorbance of the dormant spores, needs only energy, which can be obtained from endogenous sources, and exogenous cations. Agents that inhibit ATP formation block darkening, but inhibitors of macromolecular synthesis do not affect it. Swelling requires exogenous carbon but not nitrogen sources and is characterized by a 30 to 40% increase in spore diameter. RNA synthesis is necessary for swelling and inhibitors of protein synthesis delay this process. During this stage, maximum respiratory, cytochrome oxidase and catalase activities are reached. DNA synthesis starts at the beginning of germ tube emergence. This final stage requires both exogenous carbon and nitrogen sources and the sequence of macromolecular synthesis is RNA, protein and, finally, DNA. Rifampicin, streptomycin and mitomycin C prevent protein and DNA synthesis regardless of when added during germination. Rifampicin inhibits [H]uridine incorporation immediately but there is a delay of about 160 min in the case of streptomycin or mitomycin C.


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