Measurement of Bacterial Growth Rates in Aquatic Systems from Rates of Nucleic Acid Synthesis

  • D. J. W. Moriarty
Part of the Advances in Microbial Ecology book series (AMIE, volume 9)


Marine microbiology has expanded rapidly as a scientific discipline in the last 10–20 years. A change in experimental approach, from isolation of individual organisms and pure culture studies to whole-community studies, has helped foster this expansion. New techniques, such as epifluorescence microscopy and the use of radioisotopes, have shown that bacteria are more numerous and active than had been generally accepted. Early work with radioisotopes showed that bacteria were actively metabolizing organic matter in the sea, but accurate measurements of growth rates and production were needed in order to quantify fully the role of bacteria in food chains and cycles of organic matter. Perhaps the ultimate expression of bacterial activity is cell division. If we can quantify this, then we can confidently make statements about other activities of bacteria.


Coral Reef Thymidine Kinase Isotope Dilution Bacterial Production Thymidine Incorporation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. W. Moriarty
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Marine LaboratoriesClevelandAustralia

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