Microbial Ecology

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 505–512 | Cite as

Elevated Lytic Phage Production as a Consequence of Particle Colonization by a Marine Flavobacterium (Cellulophaga sp.)

  • Lasse Riemann
  • Hans-Peter Grossart
Original Article


Bacteria growing on marine particles generally have higher densities and cell-specific activities than free-living bacteria. Since rapidity of phage adsorption is dependent on host density, while infection productivity is a function of host physiological status, we hypothesized that marine particles are sites of elevated phage production. In the present study, organic-matter-rich agarose beads and a marine phage–host pair (Cellulophaga sp., ΦSM) were used as a model system to examine whether bacterial colonization of particles increases phage production. While no production of phages was observed in plain seawater, the presence of beads enhanced attachment and growth of bacteria, as well as phage production. This was observed because of extensive lysis of bacteria in the presence of beads and a subsequent increase in phage abundance both on beads and in the surrounding water. After 12 h, extensive phage lysis reduced the density of attached bacteria; however, after 32 h, bacterial abundance increased again. Reexposure to phages and analyses of bacterial isolates suggested that this regrowth on particles was by phage-resistant clones. The present demonstration of elevated lytic phage production associated with model particles illustrates not only that a marine phage has the ability to successfully infect and lyse surface-attached bacteria but also that acquisition of resistance may affect temporal phage–host dynamics on particles. These findings from a model system may have relevance to the distribution of phage production in environments rich in particulate matter (e.g., in coastal areas or during phytoplankton blooms) where a significant part of phage production may be directly linked to these nutrient-rich “hot spots.”


Dissolve Organic Matter Burst Size Phage Infection Attached Bacterium Bacterial Growth Efficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank all students of the “Marine Ecology” class for their great enthusiasm and support and W. Carvalho for help with flow cytometric analyses. M. Lunau is warmly acknowledged for assistance in extraction of phages attached to beads. We thank M. Middelboe and the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments to an earlier version of the manuscript. The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT, #05/055 to L.R.) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, #D/05/51648 to H.-P.G.) are acknowledged for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural SciencesUniversity of KalmarKalmarSweden
  2. 2.Department of Limnology of Stratified LakesLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesStechlinGermany

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