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Can J Microbiol. 2000 Aug;46(8):770-3.

Clay minerals protect bacteriophage PBS1 of Bacillus subtilis against inactivation and loss of transducing ability by UV radiation.

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Department of Animal Biology and Genetics, University of Florence, Italy.


The effect of UV radiation on the survival of and transduction by phage PBS1 of Bacillus subtilis, free or adsorbed on the clay minerals montmorillonite (M) and kaolinite (K), was studied. After free or clay-associated phage (approximately 10(7) PFU.mL-1) was irradiated with UV light (254 nm) for 0, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 30 min and then allowed to infect B. subtilis FB300 (thiB4 metA29 argF4 Rfmr), the phage was titered, and Met+ transductants were enumerated on selective media. After 1 min of irradiation, the titer of free and clay-associated phage decreased significantly (approximately 1.6 times for free phage, and approximately 4.9 and 6.8 times for M and K, respectively), whereas the transduction frequency increased significantly (approximately 3 times for free phage and approximately 1.4 and 2.2 times for M and K, respectively). The titer and transduction frequency of clay-associated phage remain essentially constant between 1 and 10 min of irradiation, whereas the titer of free phage decreased by approximately 1 order of magnitude after 5 min of irradiation. When free phage was irradiated for 10 min, the titer and transduction frequency decreased by approximately 2 and 0.5 orders of magnitude, respectively, whereas 30 min of irradiation was necessary to obtain comparable decreases with clay-associated phage. These results indicated that phages are protected to some extent from UV radiation when adsorbed on clay minerals.

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