Effect of Nutrient Concentration on the Growth of Escherichia coli
The relationship between specific growth rate of Escherichia coli and the concentration of limiting nutrient (glucose or phosphate or tryptophan) has been determined for populations in a steady state. At high concentrations the specific growth rate is independent of the concentration of nutrient, but at low concentrations the specific growth rate is a strong function of the nutrient concentration. Such a relationship was predicted by Monod; however, Monod's equation does not predict the relationship over the entire range of nutrient concentration. If parameters of the equation are estimated from the results obtained at low concentrations, then at high concentrations of nutrient, the specific growth rate is significantly higher than that predicted by Monod's equation. These results were interpreted on the basis that the rate of growth is controlled by at least two parallel reactions and that the affinities of the enzymes catalyzing these reactions are different. The relationship between specific growth rate and mean cell volume was also measured, and the results indicate that mean cell volume depends not only on the specific growth rate but also on the nature of the limiting nutrient. There are different mean cell volumes at the same specific growth rate established by different limiting nutrients. Therefore, the mean cell volume is not uniquely determined by the specific growth rate.