High abundance of viruses found in aquatic environments

Nature. 1989 Aug 10;340(6233):467-8. doi: 10.1038/340467a0.


The concentration of bacteriophages in natural unpolluted waters is in general believed to be low, and they have therefore been considered ecologically unimportant. Using a new method for quantitative enumeration, we have found up to 2.5 x 10(8) virus particles per millilitre in natural waters. These concentrations indicate that virus infection may be an important factor in the ecological control of planktonic micro-organisms, and that viruses might mediate genetic exchange among bacteria in natural aquatic environments.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Bacteriophages / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteriophages / ultrastructure
  • Fresh Water
  • Seawater
  • Viruses / isolation & purification*
  • Viruses / ultrastructure
  • Water Microbiology*