Effect of bacterial growth rate on bacteriophage population growth rate

Microbiologyopen. 2018 Apr;7(2):e00558. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.558. Epub 2017 Dec 1.


It is important to understand how physiological state of the host influence propagation of bacteriophages (phages), due to the potential higher phage production needs in the future. In our study, we tried to elucidate the effect of bacterial growth rate on adsorption constant (δ), latent period (L), burst size (b), and bacteriophage population growth rate (λ). As a model system, a well-studied phage T4 and Escherichia coli K-12 as a host was used. Bacteria were grown in a continuous culture operating at dilution rates in the range between 0.06 and 0.98 hr-1 . It was found that the burst size increases linearly from 8 PFU·cell-1 to 89 PFU·cell-1 with increase in bacteria growth rate. On the other hand, adsorption constant and latent period were both decreasing from 2.6∙10-9 ml·min-1 and 80 min to reach limiting values of 0.5 × 10-9 ml·min-1 and 27 min at higher growth rates, respectively. Both trends were mathematically described with Michaelis-Menten based type of equation and reasons for such form are discussed. By applying selected equations, a mathematical equation for prediction of bacteriophage population growth rate as a function of dilution rate was derived, reaching values around 8 hr-1 at highest dilution rate. Interestingly, almost identical description can be obtained using much simpler Monod type equation and possible reasons for this finding are discussed.

Keywords: E. coli K-12; bacterial growth rate; bacteriophage population growth rate; chemostat; phage T4; phage growth parameters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophage T4 / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli K12 / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli K12 / virology
  • Population Growth*
  • Viral Plaque Assay
  • Virus Latency / physiology