Survival and nutritional requirements of three bacteria isolated from ultrapure water

M. B. McAlister, L. A. Kulakov, J. F. O'Hanlon, M. J. Larkin, K. L. Ogden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Bacteria isolated previously from ultrapure water (UPW) systems were examined for their ability to survive in UPW, with the ultimate goal of elucidating potential carbon and energy sources for the bacteria. Two strains of Ralstonia pickettii isolated from different areas within the UPW system (pretreatment and polishing loop, and referred to as strains 3A1 and MF254A, respectively) and a strain of Bradyrhizobium sp. were compared to increase our understanding of the fundamental behavior of bacteria contaminating UPW. R. pickettii (3A1) grew significantly slower in R2A medium, with a final cell yield much lower than the isolate from the polishing loop. In addition, R. pickettii MF254A showed a broader substrate range than either strain 3A1 or Bradyrhizobium sp. In UPW, there appears to be a threshold cell concentration (approximately 106 colony-forming units/ml), whereby the cell numbers remain constant for a prolonged period of 6 months or more. Below this concentration, rapid proliferation is observed until the threshold concentration is attained. Preliminary experiments suggested that nitrogen gas (frequently added to UPW storage tanks) may contribute to growth of Bradyrhizobium sp. Above the threshold concentration, the strain of Ralstonia sp. isolated from the polishing loop was capable of cryptic growth with heat-killed cells in UPW. However, cryptic growth was not observed when the cells supplied as nutrients were killed using UV254 light. Furthermore, cryptic growth did not appear to contribute significantly to proliferation of Bradyrhizobium sp. or Ralstonia sp. 3A1 (isolated from the pretreatment loop). We believe that cryptic growth may aid survival of the bacteria in UPW, but further experiments are warranted to prove this phenomenon conclusively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Cryptic growth
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Oligotroph
  • Substrate utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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