SUMMARY: Spores of strain PX which were exposed to 0.02, 0.06, 0.18, 0.54 and 1.08 Mrad of γ-radiation became progressively more activated, i.e. they germinated more rapidly in the presence of germinants (e.g. L-alanine, inosine, -dodecylamine, calcium dipicolinate) than did unirradiated spores. Heat- and radiation-activation differed in that irradiated spores but not heated spores germinated faster than untreated control spores in -dodecylamine. The two methods of activation were similar in that both sorts of activated spores could be de-activated, and heated and irradiated spores both had increased contents of titratable thiol groups as compared with untreated spores. Germination-like changes still occurred rapidly in spores which had been subjected to doses of γ-radiation sufficient to render them non-viable. Ionizing radiation, heat and other agents which activate spores probably do so by changing the tertiary structure of spore macromolecules and thereby exposing previously masked reactive sites which are important in germination.


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