The action of mustard gas on six animal, one plant, and two bacterial viruses; also on bacteria, yeast, and the pneumococcus-transforming principle has been studied. The viruses include Newcastle's disease of chickens, equine encephalomyelitis (Eastern strain), feline pneumonitis (Baker), rabbit papilloma (Shope), fixed rabies, rabbit myxoma, tobacco mosaic, T2r+ phage of E. coli B, and a Staphylococcus muscae phage. The cells include bakers' yeast, E. coli B, Staphylococcus muscae, and swine plague bacillus.
The rates of inactivation of the viruses and cells were of the same order of magnitude and faster than those of enzymes.
Of the viruses examined those containing desoxyribose nucleic acid were inactivated faster than those containing ribosenucleic acid. Preparations of the pneumococcus-transforming principle which were largely desoxyribose nucleic acid have shown the greatest sensitivity to mustard gas of all systems examined.
An expression was derived describing the inactivation rate when mustard gas decreases during the experiment.