The apparent absorbancy of suspensions of stationary-phase cells of Streptococcus lactis strain 354/07 decreased immediately after being placed in fresh media. This optical effect also occurred in defined mixtures of buffer glucose and KCl. CaCl2 caused the absorbancy to increase. CaCl2 and KCl together had about the same effect as KCl alone. SrCl2 could replace CaCl2, but it was less effective by a factor of 102. MnCl2, MgCl2, and NaCl were without effect. The absorbancy did not change when cells were first killed by p-chloromercuribenzoate or when the reaction was carried out at 0 C. The rate of the reaction was dependent on temperature and concentration of glucose and salts. Gradient centrifugation suggests that this optical effect was caused by change in the refractive index of the test organism rather than by change in volume. Nine other organisms representing four additional genera gave the same optical effect as S. lactis 354/07. Two other organisms reacted feebly whereas another strain of S. lactis reacted in the opposite way, the absorbancy of the suspension increasing instead of decreasing. Spores of Bacillus cereus did not respond.