, 2005). Alternatively, a lower temperature may affect the physiological state of the cells and/or the wetness of the agar surface. Upon inoculation on the swarm medium, the liquid-grown cultures of R. leguminosarum did not immediately demonstrate swarming motility. Instead, a lag period began 3–5 days after inoculation. The lag period was characterized by an increase in the size of the colony, which reflects an increase in cell density. Accordingly, we observed that the 5-Fluoracil nmr length of the lag period was considerably influenced by the cell density of the inoculum. Cultures with a higher cell density initiated swarming migration faster than cultures
with a lower cell density. It appears that R. leguminosarum needs to reach a certain cell density to start swarming. Additionally, this lag period might be needed to allow the metabolic and physiological changes associated with swarmer cells (Kim & Surette, 2004). The lag period may also be needed for the build-up of extracellular swarm signals, such as biosurfactants, extracellular slime, and N-acyl-homoserine lactones (Harshey, 1994; Verstraeten et al., 2008). The swarming front of R. leguminosarum is always preceded by a clear transparent zone. We speculate that this area contains the wetting agent needed for surface translocation. Initial characterization of this area using
the drop-collapsing test (Jain et al., 1991) failed to detect surfactants
that may have been produced by the swarmer cells (data not shown). Although previous studies have shown that this ADAMTS5 transparent zone contains AZD8055 surfactants that may facilitate swarming (Julkowska et al., 2004; Sule et al., 2009), surfactants have not been detected in P. putida (Matilla et al., 2007) and Salmonella (Chen et al., 2007). Instead of using a surfactant as a wetting agent, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium swarmer cells probably produce an osmotic agent that extracts water from the underlying agar (Chen et al., 2007). Similar to serovar Typhimurium, R. leguminosarum swarmer cells may not produce surfactants or the amount produced may not be high enough for detection by the drop-collapsing test. It would be interesting to determine the composition of the extracellular matrix formed by R. leguminosarum swarm cells because this slimy layer is not fully characterized in many swarming bacteria. In contrast to most swarming bacteria, which are filamentous and multinucleate (Harshey, 1994; Fraser & Hughes, 1999; Verstraeten et al., 2008), R. leguminosarum swarmer cells exhibited almost the same size as the vegetative cells. Thus, elongation is not essential for swarming motility in this bacterium. One notable feature observed in R. leguminosarum swarmer cells is the formation of rafts, wherein adjacent cells are arranged parallel to their long axis.