High abundance of viruses found in aquatic environments

  • Bergh Ø
  • Børsheim K
  • Bratbak G
 et al. 
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Abstract

The concentration of bacteriophages in natural unpolluted waters is in general believed to be low, and they have therefore been considered ecologically unimportant. Using a new method for quantitative enumeration, we have found up to 2.5 x 10(8) virus particles per millilitre in natural waters. These concentrations indicate that virus infection may be an important factor in the ecological control of planktonic micro-organisms, and that viruses might mediate genetic exchange among bacteria in natural aquatic environments.

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Authors

  • Øivind Bergh

  • Knut Yngve Børsheim

  • Gunnar Bratbak

  • Mikal Heldal

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