SUMMARY: The survival of K12 HfrC sprayed from distilled water into a nitrogen atmosphere as a function of aerosol age and of storage relative humidity (RH) is demonstrated. The survival pattern was typically that of , i.e. marked instability in a region at high RH and better stability at low RH. The results of changing the RH from the storage RH to 100% or 30% are described. Comparison of survival in nitrogen with that in air showed air to be slightly toxic, the toxic component being oxygen or a trace of some contaminant in it. Glycerol and raffinose were slightly protective as additives at high RH; at low RH glycerol was toxic, but raffinose was highly protective. It was discovered that K12 HfrC carried a temperate phage and that this phage was not activated by the processes involved in aerosol experiments. The synthesis of phages T and μ2 by K12 HfrC, collected from the aerosol, was examined. Phage production and viability were similar, and hence it is concluded that in a nitrogen atmosphere loss of viability was not caused by DNA inactivation, DNA synthesis inhibition or inhibition of cell-wall division, but by failure of RNA synthesis, protein synthesis or energy production.


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