The study of bacterial growth can be conducted in controlled laboratory studies using pure cultures of microorganisms, or in situ in environmental matrices such as soil, water or municipal wastes. Laboratory studies are generally conducted to characterize specific strains of bacteria, and can be used to optimize the commercial production of a variety of microbial products including antibiotics, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, yeast, vinegar and alcoholic beverages. Growth in the environment is more complex than in the laboratory, but is vital to understand such issues as rates of nutrient cycling, microbial response to climate change, microbial interaction with organic and metal contaminants and survival and growth of pathogens in the environment. Growth in the laboratory or environment is discussed within the context of microbial growth kinetics including the lag, exponential, stationary and death phases. Finally, growth is discussed within the context of the mass balance of growth under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Microbiology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780123946263
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bacterial growth
  • Binary fission
  • Continuous culture
  • Mass balance of growth
  • Microbial growth kinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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