Frequency of dividing cells, a new approach to the determination of bacterial growth rates in aquatic environments

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1979 May;37(5):805-12. doi: 10.1128/aem.37.5.805-812.1979.


Frequency of dividing cells is suggested to be an indirect measure of the mean growth rate of an aquatic bacterial community. Seasonal changes in frequency of dividing cells were found which covariated with the bacterial uptake of C-labeled phytoplankton exudates. Batch and continuous culture growth experiments, using brackish water bacteria in pure and mixed enrichment cultures, were performed to establish a relationship between frequency of dividing cells and growth rate. An improved technique for bacterial direct counts, using fluorescent staining and epifluorescence microscopy, is presented. Based on a 6-month survey in a coastal area of the Baltic Sea, the bacterial production in the photic zone is estimated. Compared to the total primary production in the area, the bacterial population during this period utilized approximately 25% of the amount of carbon originally fixed by the primary producers.