SUMMARY: A computer program, METHCOMP, to simulate the competition between an obligately methylotrophic bacterium, a facultatively methylotrophic bacterium, a bacterium able to use methylamine as nitrogen source only, and a non-methylamine-using bacterium for methylamine and glucose in continuous culture with a constant or alternating nutrient supply is described. Competitions between obligate methylotroph B6/2 and facultative methylotroph DT26 in continuous cultures supplied alternately with methylamine and glucose/ammonium were both simulated using experimentally determined growth parameters and investigated in laboratory mixed cultures. The results of the laboratory experiments were in excellent agreement with the simulations. The composition of the mixed population is predicted to vary with imposed dilution rate, with strain B6/2 excluded at dilution rates below 0·0625 h and strain DT26 excluded at dilution rates above 0·20 h. At intermediate dilution rates both strains coexisted in stable proportions which depended upon the dilution rate. Hence, the use of an alternating nutrient supply may offer a practical approach to the control of the composition of defined, mixed microbial populations.


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