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By J N Lester, J W Birkett

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Extra resources for Microbiology and chemistry for environmental scientists and engineers

Sample text

2 Gliding bacteria These are aerobic, Gram-negative bacteria characterized by an outer slime layer and the ability to move by gliding. Found in soil and water, many are capable of degrading and assimilating other micro-organisms and some can digest cellulose. One of the two orders is characterized by production of fruiting bodies. 3 Sheathed bacteria The sheathed bacteria are rod-shaped organisms which grow in chains surrounded by a gelatinous sheath. The sheaths may attach to solid surfaces by holdfasts or accumulate surface encrustations of iron and manganese oxides.

The ability to undertake photosynthesis does not preclude the use of organic compounds as the principal source of carbon and energy and in many algae a mixed type of metabolism is found and referred to as mixotrophic. Some algae even when growing in the light cannot reduce CO2 due to defects in the photosynthetic apparatus which have occurred during its evolution. The green alga Chlamydobotrys is dependent on the availability of acetate or some other suitable organic compound to fulfil its carbon requirements.

Fixed and stained capsules of bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae have been shown by electron microscopy to be composed of fine fibrils, which may help to retain the capsule’s structural integrity. g. dextrans and levans, or heteropolysaccharides containing a mixture of monomers. g. g. Bacillus anthracis. Some species of Streptococcus, Leuconostoc and Bacillus can form polymers externally, without substrate entering the cell, by the secretion of enzymes. However, most capsular and slime material is formed from within the cell by transfer of appropriate monomers by a carrier lipid to the cytoplasmic membrane, thought to be the site of synthesis.

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