Aggregation/dispersion transitions of T4 phage triggered by environmental ion availability
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin, pyrogen) constitutes a very troubling contaminant of crude phage lysates produced in Gram-negative bacteria. Toxicity of LPS depends on the strong innate immunity response including the cytokines. Therefore, its removal is important for bacteriophage applications. In this paper, we present a procedure for extractive removal of endotoxin from bacteriophage preparations with water immiscible solvents (1-octanol or 1-butanol). During extraction most of the phage lytic activity is retained in the aqueous phase, while endotoxin accumulates in the organic solvent. The levels of endotoxin (expressed as endotoxin units, EU) in the aqueous bacteriophage-containing fraction determined by limulus amebocyte lysate or EndoLISA assay were exceptionally low. While the initial endotoxin levels in the crude phage lysates ranged between 10(3) and 10(5) EU/ml the average level after organic extraction remaining in the aqueous fraction was 5.3 EU/ml. These values when related to phage titers decreased from 10(3)-10(5) EU/10(9) PFU (plaque forming units) down to an average of 2.8 EU/10(9) PFU. The purification procedure is scalable, efficient and applicable to all the bacteriophages tested: T4, HAP1 (E. coli) and F8 (P. aeruginosa).