Survey of extreme solvent tolerance in gram-positive cocci

Membrane fatty acid changes in Staphylococcus haemolyticus grown in toluene

Lindsey E. Nielsen, Dana R. Kadavy, Soumitra Rajagopal, Rhae Drijber, Kenneth Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We exploited the unique ecological niche of oil fly larval guts to isolate a strain of Staphylococcus haemolyticus which may be the most solvent-tolerant gram-positive bacterium yet described. This organism is able to tolerate 100% toluene, benzene, and p-xylene on plate overlays and saturating levels of these solvents in monophasic liquid cultures. A comparison of membrane fatty acids by gas chromatography after growth in liquid media with and without toluene showed that in cells continuously exposed to solvent the proportion of anteiso fatty acids increased from 25.8 to 33.7% while the proportion of 20:0 straight-chain fatty acids decreased from 19.3 to 10.1%. No changes in the membrane phospholipid composition were noted. Thus, S. haemolyticus alters its membrane fluidity via fatty acid composition to become more fluid when it is exposed to solvent. This response is opposite that commonly found in gram-negative bacteria, which change their fatty acids so that the cytoplasmic membrane is less fluid. Extreme solvent tolerance in S. haemolyticus is not accompanied by abnormal resistance to anionic or cationic detergents. Finally, six strains of Staphylococcus aureus and five strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis, which were not obtained by solvent selection, also exhibited exceptional solvent tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5171-5176
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume71
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

Fingerprint

Staphylococcus haemolyticus
Gram-Positive Cocci
Coccus
toluene
Toluene
Fatty Acids
fatty acid
tolerance
membrane
fatty acids
Membranes
xylene
membrane fluidity
Membrane Fluidity
Staphylococcus epidermidis
bacterium
liquid
liquids
fluid
Gram-Positive Bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

Cite this

Survey of extreme solvent tolerance in gram-positive cocci : Membrane fatty acid changes in Staphylococcus haemolyticus grown in toluene. / Nielsen, Lindsey E.; Kadavy, Dana R.; Rajagopal, Soumitra; Drijber, Rhae; Nickerson, Kenneth.

In: Applied and environmental microbiology, Vol. 71, No. 9, 01.09.2005, p. 5171-5176.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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