Several explanations have been proposed to account for the Dienes phenomenon that occurs between some strains of (Dienes, 1946). Senior (1977) suggested that proticines played a major role in the phenomenon but that not all the results could be explained in this way.

The term "colony incompatibility" was coined by Bettelheim and Carlile (1976) to include the Dienes phenomenon of as well as similar interactions among other motile bacteria. Recent studies of salmonellas (Bettelheim, 1978 and ) have shown that neither serotype nor bacteriocine production nor phage type correlate with incompatibility. Although colony incompatibility is still unexplained, it was decided to examine its possible ecological significance in a hospital environment.


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