Summary: mt-2, harbouring the TOL plasmid PWW0, was grown continuously on benzoate in a phauxostat at a non-limited rate. The gradual decrease in the population carrying the complete TOL plasmid was caused predominantly by a growth-rate advantage of spontaneous mutants carrying a partially deleted plasmid (TOL cells). The growth-rate difference () was quantified both by measuring the increase in the dilution rate (from 0.68 to 0.79 h; = 0.11 h) and by mathematical analysis of the ingrowth of TOL cells ( = 0.12 h). The latter procedure also established that the segregation rate was of the order of magnitude 10 h. Similar values for the growth-rate advantage and the segregation rate were found when both benzoate and succinate were present in non-limiting concentrations. It is suggested that the growth-rate disadvantage of the wild-type strain is caused by inhibitory effects of an intermediate in the degradation of benzoate via the plasmid-encoded -pathway.


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