Endospores: Definition, Function, and Diagram

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What is Endospore Formation?

o An endospore is a dormant, tough, and non-reproductive structure produced by Gram-positive bacteria which forms when a bacterium produces a thick internal wall that encloses its DNA and part of its cytoplasm.

o Remember that Gram + bacteria produce endospores.

o The primary function of most endospores is to ensure the survival of a bacterium through periods of environmental stress.

o They are therefore resistant to ultraviolet and gamma radiation, desiccation, lysozyme, temperature, starvation, and chemical disinfectants.

Endospore Formation

Endospore, Endospore Definition, Endospore Function, Endospore Diagram 1

Endospore Formation Steps

o In endospore formation, the bacterium divides within its cell wall.

o One side then engulfs the other side.

o The chemistry of the cell wall of the engulfed bacterium changes slightly to form the cortex of the endospore.

o Several protein layers lie over the cortex to form the resistant structure called the spore coat.

o A delicate covering called the exosporium, sometimes surrounds the spore coat.

oThe outer cell then lyses, releasing the dormant endospore.

o The endospore must be activated before it can be germinated and grow.

o Activation usually involves heat.

o Germination is triggered by nutrients.

Endospore Formation Citations


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