The effect of oxygen on the growth and cell morphology of Helicobacter pylori

Gianfranco Donelli, Paola Matarrese, Carla Fiorentini, Benedetto Dainelli, Tea Taraborelli, Emanuela Di Campli, Soraya Di Bartolomeo, Luigina Cellini

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The in vitro effect of progressive oxygen decrease on the growth and morphology of Helicobacter pylori was studied. H. pylori ATCC 43504 was used for the experiments. The strain inoculated in Brucella broth plus fetal calf serum was incubated under a controlled atmosphere with oxygen concentration from 5 to 0%. CFU ml-1 and bacterial morphology were detected at the time of spreading and at 24 h, 72 h, 7 days and 14 days. A detailed ultrastructural investigation of the bacterial cells, grown in different experimental conditions, was performed by scanning electron microscopy. Oxygen deprivation produced a rapid reduction of CFU ml-1. In particular, a significant reduction of viable bacteria was recorded at 72 h of incubation in the presence of 1% oxygen and anaerobiosis, and 0 CFU ml-1 was found after 7 days of incubation at the above mentioned oxygen concentrations. The coccoid phenotype was already prevalent after 24 h of incubation with a progressive tendency to aggregate in clusters. These clusters were progressively larger, depending on the reduction of oxygen concentration, since the aggregation phenomenon can be the expression of a hypothesized mechanism of protection among bacterial cells. Copyright (C) 1998 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1998


  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Morphology
  • Oxygen
  • Viable but not culturable state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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