Summary: Heterotrophic pyruvate-limited steady-state continuous cultures of the bacterium were perturbed with a pulse injection of a small volume of concentrated pyruvate solution. These cultures exhibited an instantaneous change in the growth dynamics, turning from steady state to apparently linear growth. These transient growth-responses had no lag phase and were clearly distinct from unlimited exponential growth according to the initial rates of increase of biomass and substrate disappearance kinetics. A linear accumulation with time of poly(β-hydroxybutyrate) was observed within the cells. Slopes of these linear responses were negatively correlated with the dilution rate. Physiological bases of linear growth are discussed in the light of the models of H. E. Kubitschek. Poly(β-hydroxybutyrate) synthesis in the absence of exogenous limitation may serve to protect the cells against a transient metabolic overflow.


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