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RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND THE KILLING OF BACTERIA: THE SURVIVAL OF SERRATIA MARCESCENS DEHYDRATED BY CONCENTRATED GLYCEROL AND SUCROSE SOLUTIONS

Authors
  • J. B. Bateman
  • F. Elizabeth White
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1963
Source
PMC
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Physics
License
Unknown

Abstract

Bateman, J. B. (U.S. Army Biological Laboratories, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.) and F. Elizabeth White. Effect of relative humidity on the survival of Serratia marcescens in concentrated glycerol and sucrose solutions. J. Bacteriol. 85:918–926. 1963.—The effects of sucrose and glycerol upon the ability of Serratia marcescens to grow when restored to a normal medium after exposure to solutions of these substances were examined, with special attention to the prevailing thermodynamic activity of water in these solutions as a factor of supposed primary importance in influencing survival or death of cells. The data were notable for the absence of any zones of instability such as those found when the water activity is changed by exposure of washed cells to water vapor at controlled relative humidities (RH). The cells survived indefinitely at room temperature in concentrated sucrose solutions; in glycerol solutions of equilibrium RH values from 20 to 90, the first-order decay constants were about 0.03 to 0.1 hr−1. These results, considered together with the contrasting phenomenon of narrow lethal humidity zones found in vapor-phrase equilibration experiments, were explained generally in terms of competitive interactions involving concentrated intrinsic and adventitious solutes, the cell water, and the organized structures of the cell, whose integrity was considered to depend ultimately upon the net effect of these various interactions.

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