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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

A method for the detection of bacteriophages from ocean water

  • K. Moebus1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen34:BF01983537


A method for the isolation of bacteriophages from ocean water is described. It precludes sample storage before starting phage-enrichment cultures and provides for the use of 3 sub-samples enriched with organic nutrients after 1, 2 and 3 days of incubation. The method was used with samples collected from 6 m below the surface at 48 stations between the European continental shelf and the Sargasso Sea. With 213 among 931 bacterial isolates about 250 strains of bacteriophages were detected by two methods of different sensitivity. From 14 samples taken east of the Azores 115 host bacteria have been found versus only 98 from 34 samples collected at westerly stations. The employment of more than one sub-sample per station as well as the use of more sensitive phage-detection procedures was found to be more advantageous the lower the concentration of cultivatable bacteria in a sample.