1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
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Metabolism: Division of labor in bacteria

  1. Alma Dal Co  Is a corresponding author
  2. Charlotte Brannon  Is a corresponding author
  3. Martin Ackermann  Is a corresponding author
  1. ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Eawag, Switzerland
  3. Yale University, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e38578 doi: 10.7554/eLife.38578
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Distinct metabolic pathways in a population of bacteria.

Schematic showing the two subpopulations of B. subtilis seen in the experiments of Rosenthal et al. At the start of the experiment (left) an individual bacterium (grey) grown on glucose and malate divides to give rise to a clonal population. After three hours, some of the cells (shown in red) start to secrete acetate (purple shadow). After six hours, acetate has accumulated to a toxic level, and a second phenotypic subpopulation emerges: the bacteria in this second subpopulation (green) take up the acetate and convert it to acetoin, which is nontoxic. After nine hours, acetate has dropped to a level that is non-toxic.

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