‘Substrate-accelerated death’ (Postgate & Hunter, 1963, 1964) was observed with carbon-limited but not ammonium-, phosphate- or sulphate-limited grown at 37° in defined medium and starved at 37° in aerated saline buffers containing the growth-limiting substrate. Carbon sources besides the one limiting growth increased the death-rate of starved mannitol-, glycerol-, galactose- and ribose-limited bacteria. Glycerol-accelerated death depended on the rate of oxidation of glycerol and the bacterial concentration; with bacteria fully adapted to glycerol, populations of less than 1-2 x 10 organisms/ml. died at a faster rate the denser the population and above this concentration the death-rate decreased with increasing bacterial concentration. Death was delayed when aerated bacterial suspensions containing glycerol were dialysed at 37° against saline buffer containing the substrate. Bacteria-free filtrates, from populations dying in the presence of glycerol, accelerated the death of fresh bacteria to a greater extent than did glycerol alone. In contrast, bacteria-free filtrates from dense populations surviving in the presence of glycerol partially protected fresh bacteria exposed to glycerol. Mg abolished glycerol-accelerated death but not the lethal effect of filtrates from dying populations. Compared with its influence on glycerol-accelerated death, population density had much less influence on the death-rate of glycerol- or mannitol-limited organisms starved in the presence of glucose or mannitol. Irrespective of bacterial concentration, α-ketoglutarate had no effect and pyruvate, citrate, malate, succinate and oxalacetate had less effect than glycerol on the death-rate of starved glycerol-limited bacteria.


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