Production of sound waves by bacterial cells and the response of bacterial cells to sound

Michio Matsuhashi, Alla N. Pankrushina, Satoshi Takeuchi, Hideyuki Ohshima, Housaku Miyoi, Katsura Endoh, Ken Murayama, Hiroshi Watanabe, Shigeo Endo, Mikio Tobi, Yoshihiro Mano, Masao Hyodo, Torakichi Kobayashi, Tomohiko Kaneko, Sugio Otani, Susumu Yoshimura, Akira Harata, Tsuguo Sawada

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Bacterial cells enhance the proliferation of neighboring cells under stress conditions by emitting a physical signal. Continuous single sine sound waves produced by a speaker at frequencies of 6-10, 18-22, and 28-38 kHz promoted colony formation by Bacillus carboniphilus under non-permissive stress conditions of high KCl concentration and high temperature. Furthermore, sound waves emitted from cells of Bacillus subtilis at frequencies between 8 and 43 kHz with broad peaks at approximately 8.5, 19, 29, and 37 kHz were detected using a sensitive microphone system. The similarity between the frequency of the sound produced by B. subtilis and the frequencies that induced a response in B. carboniphilus and the previously observed growth-promoting effect of B. subtilis cells upon B. carboniphilus through iron barriers, suggest that the detected sound waves function as a growth-regulatory signal between cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-55
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of General and Applied Microbiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Microbiology
    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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