A method is described, based on the phagocytosis of colloidal ferrite particles, which gives highly synchronous populations of Tetrahymena thermophila. To ensure a successful synchrony, the cell culture doubling time, the limits of the phagocytic period and the distribution of cell stages must first be determined. Once these parameters are known, synchrony can be achieved under a variety of growth conditions and with cultures ranging in volume from a few millilitres to 12 litres or more. The main advantages of the method are that the apparatus required is simple, large volumes of cells can be handled easily, and the synchronous populations can be prepared within a few hours. In principle, the method should be applicable to any cell population in which phagocytosis occurs discontinuously over the cell cycle.

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