Measuring bacteriophage burst size



Does each phage-infected bacterial cell release the same number of phage or does the number vary from cell to cell?   If it varies, can we define the factors involved in this variation?

To answer these questions requires that we examine the behavior of individual cells -- how can we do that?

In a classic experiment, Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria measured the number of virions released from individual bacteria infected with bacteriophage alpha


They found that the burst size number varied dramatically from cell to cell.  Our question is, does T4 display the same behavior?

To determine the average number of virions produced per T4 infected E. coli cell we will follow the same protocol used by Luria and Delbrück.

Burst size


  Lab report part 3
  1. Outline the steps in the burst size experiment and explain why it was constructed the way it was. 
  2. On the plates with plaques, what was the average burst size?

Question to answer: In the first part of experiment its critical to dilute the phage + bacteria mixture quickly. After diluting there is no particular urgency in plating out the samples. Explain why this is the case.

Use Wikipedia | revised 20-Apr-2006