Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Bacteriophage Ecology Group Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Lytic Phage


A phage that is released from bacteria via cell lysis.

Such lysis can follow either a lytic cycle that is initiated upon phage adsorption or instead a lytic cycle that follows the induction of a prophage (e.g., "immediate lytic cycle" and "induced lytic cycle", respectively). To my knowledge, all lytic phages are capable of the former though only temperate lytic phages are also capable of the latter.

The word "lytic" should not be used to describe phages as not temperate since most temperate phages technically are also lytic phage. Far better to describe these not-temperate phages instead as either obligately lytic or professionally lytic – or indeed as virulent – rather than simply as lytic. In addition, not all phages that are not temperate are also lytic, i.e., chronically infecting phages, and indeed a handful of phages are known that are both chronically infecting and temperate such as phage CTXΦ.


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