Zinc release is the first quantitatively significant event detected during the triggering of Bacillus megaterium KM spore germination. Of the total spore Zn2+ pool 25% is released from non-heat-activated spores within 4 min of triggering germination. During this period only 10% of the spore population becomes irreversibly committed to germinate. The investigation of a putative role for Zn2+ in the germination trigger mechanism has established a relationship between the rate and extent of Zn2+ release and the stimulation of spore germination by heat activation. Furthermore, a correlation can be demonstrated between the extent of zinc release from spore populations and the time required to obtain 50% commitment of these populations to germinate over a wide temperature range. These findings have been used to expand a recently published model for the triggering of bacterial spore germination.

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