SUMMARY: Chemotactic behaviour of ten species of motile bacteria from nine different genera toward over 130 compounds was examined using a flat-glass capillary tube technique and microscopical observations on bacteria both individually and in mass. Negative chemotactic behaviour was uniformly exhibited against acidic (pH 1·0 to 3·0) and basic (pH 10·0 to 12·0) stimuli. Benzene, chloroform, acetone and ethanol, whilst not extensively interfering with translational movement, uncoupled tactic responses to gradients of acids or bases. Positive chemotactic behaviour towards a given carbohydrate or amino acid was a relatively constant though rather rare event, governed to some extent by the laboratory conditions imposed. The biological role of negative chemotaxis appears to be one of survival, whereas positive responses may be, in some cases, incidental or useless.


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