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Phages are visible only after lysis of their host cells. Lysis can be performed either in liquid culture or on agar plates, the latter giving a better view on plaque morphology, uniformity and purity of the respective phage. Therefore, we recommend to perform lysis on plates whenever possible. Furthermore, counting plaques by performing dilution series gives the phage titre of a suspension (pfu = plaque forming units). DSMZ delivers only high-titre phage suspensions that are generally centrifuged and filtrated and therefore free of bacterial cells. Please, use the phage suspension as soon as possible, store away an original aliquot at 4°C and do not freeze phage suspensions without using a cryoprotectant like glycerol. Generally, DSMZ only guarantees a positive lysis when the recommended suitable host strain is used. Please, observe additional information sheets delivered along with some of our phages in order to fulfil special requirements. When performing lysis in liquid culture, the lysis procedure should be observed as it happens that a clear lysed culture is overgrown by developing resistant mutants. Great care has to be taken regarding clean work, locally separated from laboratory benches for bacterial culturing. Some phages are highly infective and transmissible even by air drifts. If contamination of a phage suspension occurs, single-plaque isolation can be performed.

* New: Deposit your phages - Phage Call Project

New publication (in German): Rohde,C. & Sikorski,J. (2011). Bakteriophagen - Vielfalt, Anwendung und ihre Bedeutung für die Wissenschaft vom Leben. Nat.Rundschau 64(1):5-14 (abstract) or download as PDF file.


See also FAQ.