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Bacterial Consumption of T4 Phages

06 September 2021

Bacterial growth on T4 phages. Identification of 13C-labeled bacteria: the 13C-labeled T4 (red) were incubated with a microbial community of a wastewater treatment plant in the same conditions as the 12C control (blue).
© Bacterial Consumption of T4 Phages
New paper in Microorganisms, Volume 9, Issue 9

The bacterial consumption of viruses not been reported on as of yet even though bacteria feed on almost anything. Viruses are widely distributed but have no acknowledged active biocontrol. Viral biomass undoubtedly reintegrates trophic cycles; however, the mechanisms of this phase still remain unknown. 13C-labelled T4 phages monitor the increase of the density of the bacterial DNA concomitant with the decrease of plaque forming units. We used 12C T4 phages as a control. T4 phage disappearance in wastewater sludge was found to occur mainly through predation by Aeromonadacea. Phage consumption also favours significant in situ bacterial growth. Furthermore, an isolated strain of Aeromonas was observed to grow on T4 phages as sole the source of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Bacterial species are capable of consuming bacteriophages in situ, which is likely a widespread and underestimated type of biocontrol. This assay is anticipated as a starting point for harnessing the bacterial potential in limiting the diffusion of harmful viruses within environments such as in the gut or in water.

Site : Microorganisms, Volume 9, Issue 9