Bacteriophage ch2, a virulent bacteriophage of Lactobacillus bulgaricus CH2, was characterized according to its morphology, genome size, structural proteins, and growth kinetics. Electron micrographs revealed that bacteriophage ch2 has an icosahedral head of 50-nm diameter and a long tail of 170 nm. Its genome is linear and 35 kilobases in length, and its structural proteins consist of two major and eight minor proteins. One-step growth kinetics of bacteriophage ch2 under optimal conditions (45 degrees C in MRS medium [Oxoid Ltd.]) showed that the latent time was 40 min, the rise period was 15 min, and the burst size was 130 bacteriophages per cell. To monitor the effects of bacteriophage infection on host growth and beta-galactosidase production, the absorbance of the culture and the beta-galactosidase activity were followed during the infection cycle. Before lysis the infected culture continued to grow and produce beta-galactosidase at the same rate as the uninfected culture.