Phages T3 and T7 were freeze-dried, freeze-thawed or aerosolized. Freeze-drying and aerosolization caused dehydration and resulted in a loss of viability due mainly to one factor, loss of tails. However, the extent of loss of viability and tails was critically dependent upon the manner of rehydration, slow rehydration being best for the preservation of the head-tail complex and viability. Slow freezing (at about 1 °C/min), but fairly rapid thawing (at about 200 °C/min), resulted in marked loss of viability of T7 but only slight loss for T3, through causes other than loss of tails or lysis. Collection of aerosols of T3 and T7 by impinger resulted in much lower viabilities than were obtained by subsonic impaction (e.g. about 10 and 80 % respectively).

The results indicate that the dehydration induced by freeze-drying and aerosolization did not cause loss of viability, but that loss of viability occurred during rehydration. Dehydration of T3 and T7 did not appear to occur during slow freezing (at about 1 °C/min). Mechanisms different from those operating through shear stresses induced by freeze-drying and aerosolization caused loss of viability when T3 and T7 were slowly frozen at about 1 °C/min.


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