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Bacterial Growth Curve:

The schematic growth curve shown below is associated with simplistic conditions known as a batch culture. It refers to a single bacterial culture, introduced into and growing in a fixed volume with a fixed (limited) amount of nutrient. Industrial situations involving MIC tend to be much more complex in nature than such a simplified model.

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Click on image to enlarge

Note: viable bacteria = living bacteria

Lag Phase:

Bacteria are becoming "acclimated" to the new environmental conditions to which they have been introduced (pH, temperature, nutrients, etc.). There is no significant increase in numbers with time.

Exponential Growth Phase:

The living bacteria population increases rapidly with time at an exponential growth in numbers, and the growth rate increasing with time. Conditions are optimal for growth.

Stationary Phase:

With the exhaustion of nutrients and build-up of waste and secondary metabolic products, the growth rate has slowed to the point where the growth rate equals the death rate. Effectively, there is no net growth in the bacteria population.

Death Phase:

The living bacteria population decreases with time, due to a lack of nutrients and toxic metabolic by-products.


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Dr. M. Tullmin, 589 Millwood Dr., Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7M 8Y3
Tel. and Fax. (613) 384-1557
E-mail: tullmin@sympatico.ca