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The presence of divalent (Mg2+) ions greatly reduced the lysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain G48 in a system at pH 7.8 or 9.0 consisting of ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), lysozyme and tris. Similar reductions in lysis occurred when EDTA was replaced by nitrilotriacetic acid, sodium citrate or sodium polyphosphate. The effect depended on the cation concentration. Mg2+ may replace cations removed from the outer membrane, or may effectively remove the permeabilizer from the system. The results suggest that the permeabilizing activity associated with these agents against this organism has a common basis in affecting the outer membrane.