Experimental conditions were developed whereby a culture of Bacillus cereus formed spores with reasonable synchrony following a growth cycle of some 8 hours. The cytology of this metamorphosis was studied by dark phase contrast, bright-field microscopy and electron microscopy of thin sections. Particular attention has been paid to the changes in chromatin patterns and these have been correlated with quantitative chemical estimations of the nucleic acids.
The cell commencing sporulation contains two compact chromatin bodies and twice the spore amount of deoxyribonucleic acid. Following fusion of the two chromatin bodies, one-half of this chromatin becomes located at a cell end. A transverse septum growing inwards from, and remaining attached to, the inner surface of the cell wall separates this end-piece of chromatin and some associated cytoplasm from the rest of the cell to form the primordial spore. Although the synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid ceases during the segregation process, it recommences in this organism and continues at a linear rate as the spore develops. Tracer studies with radioactive phosphorus indicated that this further synthesis is confined to the non-spore portion of the sporangium. Although the net synthesis of ribonucleic acid ceased prior to the onset of sporogenesis, some evidence of a turnover of this fraction during the sporulation process was found.