Swimming characteristics of magnetic bacterium, Magnetospirillum sp. AMB-1, and implications as toxicity measurement

Shimyoung Seong, Tai Hyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


To develop a novel toxicity measurement system using the persistent swimming property of magnetic bacteria along an externally applied magnetic field, certain characteristics of Magnetospirillum sp. AMB-1 cells were examined, including their growth pattern, motility, magnetosensitivity, swimming speed, and cell length distribution. In addition, the effect of toxic compounds on the swimming speed was assessed relative to application as a toxicity sensor. With an inoculum of 1.0 x 108 cells/mL, the cells reached the stationary phase with a concentration of about 5 x 108 cells/mL after 20 h, under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The distribution of the cell length did not vary significantly during the growth period, and both aerobically and anaerobically growing cells showed a similar cell length distribution. Although the cells showed similar growth patterns under both conditions, the anaerobically grown cells exhibited higher motility and magnetosensitivity. Actively growing cells under anaerobic conditions had an average swimming speed of 49 μm/s with a standard deviation of 20 μm/s. When the anaerobically growing cells were exposed to various concentrations of toxic compounds, such as 1-propanol and acetone, the swimming speed decreased with an increased concentration of the toxic compound. Accordingly, the relationship between swimming speed and toxicity can be used as an effective quantitative toxicity measurement; furthermore, the relative sensitivity of the proposed system was comparable to Microtox, which is commercially available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 25 May 2001


  • Magnetosensitivity
  • Magnetospirillum sp. AMB-1
  • Motility
  • Swimming speed
  • Toxicity measurement


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