SUMMARY: The presence of rare motile bacteria in 22 of 48 non-motile Salmonella strains tested has been inferred from the production of satellite micro-colonies in semi-solid medium. Such rare motile bacteria have been isolated by micromanipulation; they are not motile mutants, since their progeny are nearly all non-motile. They transmitted motility to only a few of their descendants, as if their motility were due to the presence of non-multiplying motility-conferring particles which were transmitted to their progeny at cell division. It is inferred that small numbers of such particles arise during an intracellular ‘event’; this event probably consists of a transient ability to synthesize new flagella. The frequency of events in one Salmonella O strain was found to be 4 x 10/bacterium/generation.


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