Lysis of Microorganisms

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lysis of Microorganisms


the dissolution of microorganisms, produced by a variety of causes.

The lysis of microorganisms may occur as a result of autolysis, in which the cells of the microorganisms, separated from the nutrient medium and kept at 35°-40°C, are lysed (dissolved) by their own proteolytic and other enzymes. Dying microorganisms in old cultures grown on liquid nutrient media also undergo autolysis. Enzymes added to a culture, such as enzymes of the Roman snail, lysozyme, and proteinases, may cause the lysis of microorganisms by dissolving the cell wall or acting on the cell proteins. Lysis may also be caused by antibodies in the blood of animals or man.

Another form of lysis of microorganisms is phagolysis, in which the cells adsorb and are infected by viruses specific to the given species of microorganism. The reproduction and maturation of these viruses (phages) within the host cell terminates in the lysis of the cell and the liberation of the phages. Phages infect bacteria (bacteriophages), actinomycetes (actinophages), and algae (algophages). Phage-induced lysis of microorganisms causes great damage in the microbiological and food industries.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(1976) have suggested that fluctuations or changes in soil enzyme activities after pesticide application may be due to the release of intracellular enzymes on the death and lysis of microorganisms.