SUMMARY: In simple chemically defined media all of 15 bacteria failed to grow in the complete absence of magnesium. The concentration of magnesium for maximum growth was dependent upon the Gram reaction of the individual species examined, the magnesium requirements of the Gram-positive organisms being some ten times greater than the requirements of the Gram-negative organisms. In contrast to the observations made in more complex media (peptone water), normal cell division occurred in chemically defined media containing suboptimal amounts of magnesium. It is suggested that magnesium is involved in the synthesis of bacterial protoplasm as well as cell division and, in simple chemically defined media, the synthetic reactions require the higher magnesium concentration.


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