Normalized specific growth rates of cultures of the yeast Rhodotorula rubra apparently indicate the activity of a growth control mechanism, when growth is perturbed with low concentrations of a toxic inhibitor (cadmium). Data from a number of experiments, in which different cadmium concentrations were used, indicate non-linear growth control dynamics and some features of a model structure, but do not permit it to be defined. Interpretation of the oscillatory behaviour as the response of a control mechanism to perturbation suggests that inhibition of mean growth rates, indicated by a threshold on dose-response curves, is due to overloading of the control mechanism or 'saturation'. Hormesis, the tendency of subinhibitory levels of typically toxic agents to stimulate growth, is a consequence of transient or sustained overcorrections by the control mechanism to low levels of an inhibitory stimulus.


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