SUMMARY: The survival characteristics of washed stationary phase organisms suspended in buffered sodium chloride solution and stored at room temperature, or at 37° with aeration, depended on the medium used for growing the bacteria. Populations of bacteria harvested from tryptic meat broth or tryptone glucose medium remained almost completely viable for longer periods than bacteria from a simple ammonium salt + mannitol medium in which carbon was limiting. Analyses of washed freeze-dried preparations of freshly harvested bacteria showed that the amounts of protein, carbohydrate and ribonucleic acid present varied according to which of the above media was used for growth. During the initial stages of storage at 37°, when the viability of the population remained apparently unchanged, a progressive loss in bacterial dry weight occurred, due to degradation of these cell constituents. Endogenous glycogen was degraded and oxidized; bacteria which contained glycogen survived well. However, the addition of glucose to suspensions stored under aerobic or anaerobic conditions did not favour survival. Utilization of substances made available by degradation of various endogenous macromolecular constituents may be an important factor concerned with the survival of bacteria in unfavourable environments.


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