Dilute solutions of MnCl2 or MnSO4 accelerate the lytic effect of phage upon susceptible staphylococci. Under the conditions of our experiments the manganese-containing mixtures lysed regularly 0.5 hour sooner than the controls.
The effect is shown to be due to a lowering of the lytic threshold, i.e. the quantity of phage/bacterium requisite for lysis; Mn++ reduces the ratio from 54 to about 12. In the presence of Mn++ phage distribution is altered and in growing phage-bacteria mixtures the extracellular phage concentration is increased by manganese to approximately 4 times that occurring in the absence of manganese. There appears to be no enhancement of phage formation nor any affect on the rate of bacterial growth. As would be anticipated, for any given initial phage concentration the end titre after completion of lysis is less in the presence of manganese than in its absence. This is due to the reduced lytic threshold produced by Mn++, there consequently being less phage needed to bring about lytic destruction of the bacteria.