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Osmoregulation – an important parameter of bacterial growth

Author(s): Marta Sochocka | Janusz Boratyński

Journal: Postępy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej
ISSN 0032-5449

Volume: 65;
Issue: 846636;
Start page: 714;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: ciśnienie osmotyczne | osmoza | substancje osmoregulacyjne | rozwój bakterii | Osmotic Pressure | Osmosis | compatible solutes | bacterial growth

Environmental conditions such as temperature, pH, radiation and osmotic pressure are important factors limiting the growth and multiplication of bacteria. Regular structure and metabolism of bacterial cells are maintained through a stable arrangement of the water-electrolyte system, regulated by osmosis. The rapid changes caused by osmotic shock (dehydration, rehydration) might lead to modifications of the phospholipid structure of the cell membrane and even cell death. Advances disturbing the osmosis, which are a natural part of living cells, may appear for example in colloid systems. The biological identification of the osmotic pressure is connected with an increase or decrease in the environmental osmotic strength of microorganisms’ habitat. Cells exposed to osmotic stress, such as an increase in osmotic pressure, initiate mechanisms of active coping with the adverse consequences of its effects. Osmoregulatory processes are designed to maintain cell turgor, hence ensuring proper conditions for bacterial growth. Osmoregulation, which consists of maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance of cells, raising concerns accumulation of specific compatible solutes (osmolytes). Osmolytes are small, soluble organic molecules with a positive influence on membrane stabilization and proteins, without disrupting cellular functions. Storage of compatible solutes takes place by synthesis or by downregulation from the medium by means of special transport systems, activated by mechanical stimuli. Knowledge of the impact of osmotic pressure on microbial cells and the regulation of its activity led to the appropriate use of bacteria in various branches of the biotechnology industry.
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