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.
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