- Bacteria cannot reproduce without a source of energy and the building blocks of cellular constituents (e.g. amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids).
- Minimum requirements for growth are a source of carbon and nitrogen, an energy source, water and various ions. Iron is also an important requirement.
- Growth requirements and products of metabolism are often used to classify bacteria
- Autotrophs: can use inorganic chemicals for their energy and carbon source.
- Heterotrophs: require organic carbon sources.
- Need to know these specific requirements to culture successfully for lab diagnostic tests.
- Some bacteria are obligate intracellular parasites and cannot be cultured in the absence of a eukaryotic cell host.
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