Viruses, Bacteria, Protists, and Fungi

How quickly do bacteria reproduce?

Bacteria can reproduce very rapidly in favorable environments in both laboratory cultures and natural habitats. The time required for a bacterial population to double is called generation time. For example, under optimal conditions, Escherichia coli can divide every 17 minutes. A laboratory culture started with a single cell can produce a colony of 107 to 108 bacteria in about 12 hours.

Bacterium Generation time (in minutes)
Escherichia coli 17
Salmonella typhimurium 24
Staphylococcus aureus 32
Clostridium botulinum 35
Streptococcus lactis 48
Lactobacillus acidophilus 66


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