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J Gen Physiol. May 20, 1940; 23(5): 643–660.
PMCID: PMC2237944

THE GROWTH OF BACTERIOPHAGE AND LYSIS OF THE HOST

Abstract

1. A new strain of B. coli and of phage active against it is described, and the relation between phage growth and lysis has been studied. It has been found that the phage can lyse these bacteria in two distinct ways, which have been designated lysis from within and lysis from without. 2. Lysis from within is caused by infection of a bacterium by a single phage particle and multiplication of this particle up to a threshold value. The cell contents are then liberated into solution without deformation of the cell wall. 3. Lysis from without is caused by adsorption of phage above a threshold value. The cell contents are liberated by a distension and destruction of the cell wall. The adsorbed phage is not retrieved upon lysis. No new phage is formed. 4. The maximum yield of phage in a lysis from within is equal to the adsorption capacity. 5. Liberation of phage from a culture in which the bacteria have been singly infected proceeds at a constant rate, after the lapse of a minimum latent period, until all the infected bacteria are lysed. 6. If the bacteria are originally not highly in excess, this liberation is soon counterbalanced by multiple adsorption of the liberated phage to bacteria that are already infected. This leads to a reduction of the final yield.

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