A Gram-positive, spore-bearing, aerobic bacillus, capable of lyzing the living cells of many Gram-positive microbial species, has been isolated from soil.
Cultures of this soil bacillus in peptone media release during autolysis a soluble agent which exerts a bactericidal effect on all the Gram-positive microorganisms so far tested, and inactivates their glucose dehydrogenases. It also inhibits the growth of the susceptible species in culture media.
Several of the Gram-positive species undergo lysis when incubated with the bactericidal agent. It appears however, that lysis is only a secondary process, due to the autolytic enzymes of the susceptible cells, and that it follows upon some other primary injury caused by the active agent.
The bactericidal agent is ineffective against all the Gram-negative bacilli so far tested.