Cells from serial cultures of R. rubrum, grown anaerobically in the light, were harvested at intervals from ½ to 15 days and sectioned for electron microscopy by conventional methods.
Cells of this species possess a multilayered outer envelope, and the external cell surface is differentiated into ridges extending parallel or obliquely to the long axis of the cell.
Cells from very young cultures resemble non-photosynthetic bacteria and contain only a granular cytoplasm, scattered high-density particles, and low-density areas corresponding to the chromatin areas observed by light microscopy. They contain neither the chromatophores nor the lamellar systems assumed by previous investigators to be characteristic of this species when grown anaerobically in the light.
Chromatophores appear in cells from cultures older than about 12 hours, while systems of paired lamellae appear along with the chromatophores in cells from cultures older than about 8 days. Divergent opinions concerning the occurrence of chromatophores or lamellae in this species can be resolved on the basis of the age of cultures used in previous studies.
Other changes occurring in cells from cultures of increasing age include the appearance of granular and reticulate cytoplasmic bodies and vacuoles, extension of the chromatin areas, and the appearance of a single membrane enclosing several chromatophores.