Assessing chronological aging in bacteria

Methods Mol Biol. 2013:965:421-37. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-239-1_28.


Bacteria, which are often considered as avid reproductive organisms under constant selective pressure to utilize available nutrients to proliferate, might seem an inappropriate model to study aging. However, environmental conditions are rarely supporting the exponential growth that is most often studied in laboratories. In the wild, Escherichia coli inhabits environments of relative nutritional paucity. Not surprisingly, under such circumstances, members of an E. coli population age and progressively lose the ability to reproduce, even when environmental conditions provide such an opportunity. Here, we review the methods to study chronological aging in bacteria and some of the mechanisms that may contribute to their age-dependent loss of viability.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage
  • Escherichia coli* / cytology
  • Escherichia coli* / genetics
  • Escherichia coli* / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli* / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Microbial Viability*
  • Microscopy
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Protein Carbonylation
  • Time Factors