Evaluation of the Effects of Oxygen Concentration on the Infectivity of T-Even Bacteriophages

Green, Hannah M.
This project developed out of EMS policy to administer oxygen to all patients. While this may prevent ischemia, it could also increase infectivity of a pathogenic virus like HIV. To test the effects of oxygen on viral infectivity, we grew cultures of bacteria and bacteriophages normally, without oxygen, and with additional oxygen. The anaerobic environment was achieved by sealing cultures in an air-tight chamber with an anaerobic AnaeroPak. A measurable hyper-oxygenated environment was engineered by drilling a hole in a chamber through which we fed a polyurethane tube and sealed with caulk. We fed both the oxygen and a meter that records the dissolved oxygen into the chamber. Measurements of cell and phage concentrations were taken at 1, 2, 4, 8, and 24 hours from each of the 3 environments. By comparing growth and morphology over time, we observed any variability that occurred due to the oxygen composition of the atmosphere. Initial data show little evidence that the absence of oxygen limits phage proliferation and indicated a slight increase in the concentration of phages that occurred in the presence of supplemental oxygen. Follow-up studies will attempt to better characterize these phenomena.
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