Structural changes occurring in the cells of several bacteria during their growth curves have been investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy using the sampling technique of attenuated total reflectance (ATR). Spectra reflect all of the components of the cells, including the cell walls, cell membranes, internal structures, and the cytoplasm. The bacteria studied were <i>Bacillus stearothermophilus</i>, <i>Halobacterium salinarium</i>, <i>Halococcus morrhuae</i>, and <i>Acetobacter aceti</i>. All species showed significant spectral changes during their growth curves, indicating structural changes in the cells during increases in cell numbers. The major change for <i>B. stearothermophilus</i> was in the lipid content, which was at a maximum during the exponential phase of the growth curve. For the halophiles <i>H. salinarium</i> and <i>H. morrhuae</i>, the major change was that the concentration of sulfate ion in the cells varied during the growth curve and was at a maximum during the mid-part of the exponential phase of the growth curve. <i>A. aceti</i> cells showed increasing polysaccharide content during the growth curve as well as maximum lipid content during the exponential phase of growth.

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