In the present paper methods have been described for the preparation of sterile extracts of pneumococci. These extracts may be obtained by dissolving the bacteria in broth cultures by means of bile, or by extraction of the cellular substances by repeated freezing and thawing of broth or saline suspensions of unwashed cells. Under special precautions these extracts may be passed through Berkefeld filters without loss of potency. In this procedure, as in all other manipulations incident to their preparation, the extracts should be protected as far as possible from contact with air. All extracts were proved sterile by cultural and animal tests.
Sterile extracts of unwashed pneumococcus cells promptly form peroxide on exposure to air. Peroxide formation is almost as active in extracts aerated at 2°C. as in those exposed to the air at room temperature. Detectable amounts of peroxide may be produced by these cell extracts within the reaction range of pH 5 to 9, the optimal zone lying at reactions less acid than pH 6. The peroxide-forming activity of the extracts is gradually diminished by prolonged exposure to 55°C., and is completely destroyed by heating at 65°C. for 5 minutes.
Cell extracts of pneumococci which have been thoroughly washed prior to extraction in salt or phosphate solutions exhibit no peroxide-forming activity. These extracts of washed cells may be activated by the addition of the cell washings, yeast extract, or muscle infusion.