Cells of underwent rapid autolysis when suspended in media of low osmolarity under non-growing conditions. Chaotropes like urea and guanidine. HCl which are potent protein denaturants caused complete and immediate lysis of whole cells. This unique sensitivity of to protein denaturants led to the development of a rapid method for the selective isolation of the outer membrane upon treatment of whole cells with urea. The composition of the outer membrane isolated from both whole cells and crude envelopes by treatment with urea was comparable with that of the outer membrane isolated by other conventional methods.


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