AME - Vol. 64 No. 2 - Feature article

Epifluorescence microscopy photographs of the flagellate Cafeteria roenbergensis (centre) and a bacterial prey (Vibrio vulnificus) in its non-starved (left) and starved (right) physiological states. Scalebars = 2.5 μm
Photos: R. Anderson

Anderson R, Kjelleberg S, McDougald D, Jürgens K

 

Species-specific patterns in the vulnerability of ­carbon-starved bacteria to protist grazing

 

Heterotrophic bacteria under severe carbon limitation can enter into a specific adaptative state with strongly reduced cell sizes and a high resistance to abiotic stress factors. In the present study, using predator–prey model systems, Anderson et al. demonstrate that this ‘carbon-starvation response’ can, for some bacterial strains, strongly reduce vulnerability to protist grazing. For other strains, however, grazing pressure remains the same as when non-starved, despite a reduction in cell size. Thus, the complex changes induced by carbon starvation appear to differently influence bacterial vulnerability to a model grazer.

 

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