A laboratory microcosm (artificial mouth) for the culture and continuous pH measurement of oral bacteria on surfaces

J Appl Bacteriol. 1986 Apr;60(4):301-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1986.tb01737.x.


A laboratory microcosm has been designed for the cultivation of bacteria on surfaces subjected to an adjustable supply of fluids. Bacteria are grown as a microbial film on halved premolar teeth, mounted back to back. Synthetic saliva is dropped slowly over the teeth throughout experiments. A nutrient supplement is provided at regular intervals. The drops of fluid retained by the teeth can be sampled for metabolic end-products. Alternatively, a miniature glass electrode may be set into one half of a tooth assembly to monitor the pH continuously at the stagnation site between tooth segments. Up to six replicate culture flasks and six electrodes can be accommodated in a single experiment. Satisfactory electrode performance was maintained during 66 h experiments. In initial 48 h experiments, teeth were inoculated with Streptococcus rattus BHT or 'Streptococcus mitior' LPA-1 in pure culture and provided with 1% (w/v) glucose for 1 h every 6 h. Bacteria produced typical responses to glucose feeds leading to the formation of 'Stephan'-like curves of pH-fall. Under these conditions, 'Strep. mitior' was more acidogenic than Strep. rattus and the pattern of acid production was distinct for each organism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Bicuspid / microbiology*
  • Culture Media
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lactates / biosynthesis
  • Lactic Acid
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Saliva, Artificial
  • Streptococcus / growth & development*
  • Streptococcus / metabolism


  • Culture Media
  • Lactates
  • Saliva, Artificial
  • Lactic Acid