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Prevalence Of Broad-Host-Range Lytic Bacteriophages Of Sphaerotilus Natans , Escherichia Coli , And Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

Ellen C. Jensen, Holly S. Schrader, Brenda Rieland, Thomas L. Thompson, Kit W. Lee, Kenneth W. Nickerson, Tyler A. Kokjohn

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ABSTRACT Two bacteriophage collections were examined with regard to their ability to form plaques on multiple bacterial host species. Nine of 10 phages studied were found to be broad-host-range bacteriophages. These phages fell into two groups. Group 1, the SN series, was isolated from sewage treatment plant samples with Sphaerotilus natans ATCC 13338 as a host. The DNAs of these bacteriophages contained modified bases and were insensitive to cleavage by type I and II restriction endonucleases. The efficiency of plating of these bacteriophages was changed only slightly on the alternate host. Group 2, the BHR series, was isolated by a two-host enrichment protocol. These bacteriophages were sensitive to restriction, and their efficiency of plating was dramatically reduced on the alternate host. Our results suggest that a multiple-host enrichment protocol may be more effective for the isolation of broad-host-range bacteriophages by avoiding the selection bias inherent in single-host methods. At least two of the broad-host-range bacteriophages mediated generalized transduction. We suggest that broad-host-range bacteriophages play a key role in phage ecology and gene transfer in nature.