SUMMARY: The form of the uptake curve of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) by and is that of an adsorption isotherm. Tested on six different bacteria, the maximum amounts of CTAB adsorbed showed variations from one organism to another.

When ceils of or are suspended in water, the ultra-violet spectrum of the supernatant liquid has a maximum absorption at a wave-length of 260 mμ. The height of this maximum is greatly increased when the cells are suspended in CTAB solutions instead of water. Free purines and pyrimidines contribute to this maximum.

There is a parallel relationship between the leakage of 260 mμ.-absorbing material, glutamic acid and inorganic phosphorus from two CTAB-treated Gram-positive bacteria, when their release is followed during the initial rapid phase of leakage. There is a similar relationship for although no glutamic acid is released. Release of cell constituents from CTAB-treated continues slowly for some time after the initial process and is accompanied by a decrease in dry weight of the cells and a gradual change from positive to negative in their Gram-staining reaction. The rate of release of cellular constituents was increased by raising the temperature or by treatment with high concentrations of CTAB.

Treatment of suspensions with sufficient CTAB to sterilize them released amounts of cell constituents comparable to those released by placing the cells in boiling water. When smaller amounts of CTAB were used, a quantitative relationship was found between the amount of CTAB present, the proportion of cells killed and the amount of 260 mμ.-absorbing material released.


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