The formation of bacteriolytic enzymes of Staphylococcus aureus, with special reference to strain M18, was investigated under a variety of conditions. The bacteriolytic activity was tested by using whole cells of Micrococcus lysodeikticus as a substrate. Complex media were required for production, and a Casein Hydrolysate-Yeast Extract medium (CCYI) was superior to Brain Heart Infusion and Trypticase Soy Broth. The optimal pH level for production was 7.0. Effective oxygenation and exchange of the β-glycerophosphate of the CCYI medium for glucose increased the rates of growth and autolysis and the rate of appearance of extracellular bacteriolytic enzymes. However, the extracellular lytic activity decreased more rapidly at the end of the growth period than under the standard culture conditions. The appearance of inhibitor(s), probably derived from autolysis, might be responsible for this rapid decrease. The highest yields were obtained in a continuous process in which the activity was almost twice that of batch cultures grown under the same conditions. The bacteriolytic activity produced in continuous culture had a considerably increased stability in the purification process. The advantage of producing unstable bacterial proteins in continuous culture under controlled growth conditions is discussed
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