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J Bacteriol. Jan 1982; 149(1): 1–5.
PMCID: PMC216584
Relationship between temperature and growth rate of bacterial cultures.
D A Ratkowsky, J Olley, T A McMeekin, and A Ball
The Arrhenius Law, which was originally proposed to describe the temperature dependence of the specific reaction rate constant in chemical reactions, does not adequately describe the effect of temperature on bacterial growth. Microbiologists have attempted to apply a modified version of this law to bacterial growth by replacing the reaction rate constant by the growth rate constant, but the modified law relationship fits data poorly, as graphs of the logarithm of the growth rate constant against reciprocal absolute temperature result in curves rather than straight lines. Instead, a linear relationship between in square root of growth rate constant (r) and temperature (T), namely, square root = b (T - T0), where b is the regression coefficient and T0 is a hypothetical temperature which is an intrinsic property of the organism, is proposed and found to apply to the growth of a wide range of bacteria. The relationship is also applicable to nucleotide breakdown and to the growth of yeast and molds.
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