The need for Ca2+ in the inactivation of bacteriophage phi X174 by lipopolysaccharide from Escherichia coli C was confirmed. Ca2+ could be replaced almost completely by Na+, but the concentration of Na+ needed was greater by more than an order of magnitude. Other bivalent ions caused inactivation in the same way as Ca2+, and the degree of inactivation varied according to the ion. At 50% inactivation of bacteriophage, the relation between the concentrations of NaCl and of bivalent or tervalent ions (Mx+) fitted the conception that NaCl was neutralizing electrostatic repulsion between virus and lipopolysaccharide by an ionic-strength effect: that is, log[Mx+] varies inversely with square root[NaCl]. The variation in effect of bi- and ter-valent ions and the low concentration needed show that this is not an ionic-strength effect but likely to involve binding to more than one site.

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