Magnetotactic microorganisms are characterized by swimming in the direction of an applied magnetic field. In nature, two types of swimming polarity have been observed: north-seeking microorganisms that swim in the same direction as the magnetic field, and south-seeking microorganisms that swim in the opposite direction. The present work studies the reversal in the swimming polarity of the multicellular magnetotactic prokaryote Candidatus Magnetoglobus multicellularis following an isolation process using high magnetic fields from magnets. The proportion of north- and south-seeking organisms was counted as a function of the magnetic field intensity used during the isolation of the organisms from sediment. It was observed that the proportion of north-seeking organisms increased when the magnetic field was increased. The magnetic moment for north- and south-seeking populations was estimated using the U-turn method. The average magnetic moment was higher for north- than south-seeking organisms. The results suggest that the reversal of swimming polarity must occur during the isolation process in the presence of high magnetic fields and magnetic field gradients. It is shown for the first time that the swimming polarity reversal depends on the magnetic moment intensity of multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes, and new studies must be undertaken to understand the role of magnetic moment polarity and oxygen gradients in determination of swimming polarity.
European Biophysics Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 4, 2017
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