In experiments with the K strain of Staphylococcus aureus and the K race of bacteriophage suspended in tryptose phosphate broth and maintained at 42°C. it was found that the presence of 1 M NaCl produced certain drastic changes in the relationship between the host cells and the infecting virus:
1. Staphylococci grown at 42°C. in plain broth or in NaCl-broth are "activated," i.e. when growth is stopped by lowering the temperature to 5°C. and phage is added, the activity titre immediately displays a rise of 15- to 16-fold.
2. 1 M NaCl tends to prevent the sorption of phage by cocci and this effect is more pronounced at 42°C. than at 5°C. When the activation test is conducted at 5°C. (the usual temperature) most of the phage is picked up by the cells and the described increase in activity titre follows. If the test takes place at 42°C. there is little sorption and correspondingly little rise in phage titre.
3. Mixtures of staphylococci and phage incubated at 42°C. in NaCl-broth fail to produce phage; the final plaque and activity titres are identical with the initial titres. Here, also, the influence of 1 M NaCl in preventing contact of phage with cocci appears to account for the results.
4. Similar mixtures held at 42°C. in plain broth exhibit a drop of about 60 per cent in activity and plaque titres. The loss of phage may be due to adsorption on dead cells accumulating in the suspension or to the thermolability of the bacterium-phage complex, or to both.