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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 Jan;55(1):136-45.

Host physiological status determines phage-like particle distribution in the lysate.

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Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Food Technology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Bacteriophage morphotype diversity and latent period duration upon induction were correlated with the host population growth. The prophages of the lysogenic Vibrio sp. (DSM14379) were induced with mitomycin C in a batch culture with different salinity, substrate concentration or composition, and at different temperatures. Under all experimental conditions, phages were induced and a population of different complete and incomplete phage-like particles was observed in the lysate. Under favorable growth conditions, the phage-like particle community in the lysate was overpopulated with phage tail-like rigid rods. The number of rods was reduced in samples with low organic carbon concentration, samples with 8% and 10% NaCl, and samples induced at 40 and 43 degrees C. Although all lysates contained all phage-like particle-size fractions, their relative abundances varied. Up to a fivefold difference in phage-like particle size was observed in lysates. Size distribution of phage-like particles changed along temperature, salinity and organic carbon gradients. Results also indicated that the latent period of the induced phage-like particle population converged to approximately 90 min above a growth rate of 1.0 h(-1). At lower host growth rates, the latent period generally increased. However, at 40 and 43 degrees C and at low peptone-yeast extract concentration in the growth medium, the latent period remained short. We propose that different host physiological conditions influence organic matter composition upon prophage induction and may thus affect virus-controlled flow of the energy and carbon in the ecosystem.

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