As a further development of our previous finding that heterogeneous bacteriolytic activities are produced by virtually all staphylococcal strains, several different conditions were tested for their selective and differentiating interferences with the bacteriolytic activity of some staphylococcal strains. Such a study has indicated the possibility of resolving different patterns of lytic activity among staphylococci and has resulted in the preparation of an assay system, composed of eight testing media, for lytic enzymes. A total of 1,054 staphylococcal strains has been tested on these media and found to fall into six “lyogroups,” each characterized by a specific pattern of bacteriolytic activity. The novelty and taxonomic relevance of analyzing the bacteriolytic activity of staphylococci and the possibility of extending the proposed method to bacteria other than staphylococci are discussed.


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