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Prodigiosin Pigment Of Serratia Marcescens Is Associated With Increased Biomass Production

Pryce L Haddix, Robert M. Q. Shanks
Published 2018 · Medicine, Biology
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Serratia marcescens is a gram-negative, facultatively-anaerobic bacterium and opportunistic pathogen which produces the red pigment prodigiosin. We employed both batch culture and chemostat growth methods to investigate prodigiosin function in the producing organism. Pigmentation correlated with an increased rate of ATP production during population lag phase. Results with a lacZ transcriptional fusion to the prodigiosin (pig) biosynthetic operon revealed that operon transcription is activated by low cellular levels of ATP at high cell density. Furthermore, these data enabled estimation of the ATP per cell minimum value at which the operon is induced. Pigmented cells were found to accumulate ATP more rapidly and to multiply more quickly than non-pigmented cells during the high density growth phase. Finally, results with both batch and chemostat culture revealed that pigmented cells grow to approximately twice the biomass yield as non-pigmented S. marcescens bacteria. Prodigiosin production may, therefore, provide a growth advantage at ambient temperatures.
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