How can bacteria live in a bottle and not die for 6 months or a year?

A common misconception about bacteria in general is that they die if they are not fed. From a human being point of view this sounds perfectly reasonable: if you don’t eat, you die. However, bacteria are not human beings. Bacteria operate much differently than people and have a variety of ways to deal with those times when resources are not available for them to grow and reproduce. Some bacteria when stressed (from say lack of nutrients) form spores and go into a resting stage, waiting for conditions to improve. Nitrifiers do not form spores but have other mechanisms to deal with nutrient deficient periods. For nitrifiers, one way to deal with stressful conditions is to form a protective “shield” called EPS. EPS stands for extracellular polymeric substances and is, in simplistic terms, an organic protective shield that research shows inhibits various organisms from attacking and breaking open the cell wall of nitrifiers. Nitrifiers belong to a very old line of bacteria (millions of years) and they have developed ways to cope with very long periods of “drought.” Because the nitrifiers in DrTim’s One & Only are grown on a substrate, they can form EPS when needed and last 6 to 12 months in a bottle.