The flocculation of bacteria which have absorbed specific agglutinins may be mechanically effected by means of the centrifuge, with results that coincide with those obtained by the standard method of test. Specific serological differences between meningococci, for example, may be determined by the centrifuge method. The technique is described.
By the elimination of the inconstant time factor in the flocculation phase opportunity is given for a closer analysis of specific absorption, and of the influence of various conditions upon both phases of agglutination.
The velocity of the absorption reaction is a function of the temperature at which it occurs, and the acceleration with increasing temperature is of the order of chemical phenomena. The absorption reaction proceeds most rapidly near the temperature of antibody destruction. The injurious effect of high temperature is revealed first in the serum; the antigen-antibody complex is not less sensitive.
The flocculation phase is also promoted by higher temperature, but lags far behind absorption, and consumes most of the time required for spontaneous agglutination.
The presence of an excess of antibodies greatly accelerates absorption and flocculation. The absorption reaction, under such circumstances, is ordinarily completed within a relatively short time.