Prosthecomicrobium is a unicellular Gram-negative bacterium with many protrusions extending from the cell in all directions. The protrusions are normally less than 2 microns in length and are tapered, tapering from the cell towards the blunt apex. Occasionally longer, non-tapering protrusions are produced. Cells divide by horizontal binary division. There are strains of Prosthecomicrobium that can exercise and some that cannot. Among them, the moving strain exhibited a tumbling circular motion.
Figure 1. Prosthecomicrobium. (Oertli G.E., et al.; 2006)
Prosthecomicrobium is an organic chemotrophic bacteria. Its metabolism is aerobic, non-fermentative type. The bacteria are found in natural water.
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Although the cells of Proathecomicrobium pneumaticum occasionally formed very long protrusions, the ratio of protrusions to cell diameter (approximately 1.0 μm) was all 1. In a clonal strain under certain growth conditions, some cells may appear without protrusions. Cells have air bubbles that are encapsulated. Colonies of Proathecomicrobium pneumaticum are unpigmented and non-motile. The bacteria can utilize ammonium but not nitrate as the sole nitrogen source for growth. Growth requires an organic carbon source and vitamins (biotin, thiamine and B12) and a temperature range of 9-42°C. Faster growth and higher yields were obtained above 30°C, but good growth at 30°C, indicating similar conditions to natural habitats. The optimum pH range is 6.0-6.5; in addition. It also grows well at pH 7.0.
Prosthecomicrobium enhydrum has a ratio of protrusion length to cell diameter (approximately 1.0 microns) of less than 0.5. The bacterium does not produce air bubbles, and has a characteristic tumbling motion with a subpolar to polar flagella. Provided that the growth medium contains appropriate vitamins and an organic carbon source, the bacteria can utilize ammonium instead of nitrate as the sole nitrogen source. Thiamine is required in the growth medium. Its colonies can be white, yellow or red. Growth temperature range is 9-37°C. Growth was faster and higher yields were obtained above 30°C, but growth was best at 30°C, indicating that this was similar to natural habitat conditions. The optimum growth pH is 7.0.
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