Lytic infection of bacteria by viruses releases nutrients during cell lysis and stimulates the growth of primary producers, but the path by which these nutrients flow from lysates to primary producers has not been traced. This study examines the remineralisation of nitrogen (N) from Vibrio lysates by heterotrophic bacterioplankton and its transfer to primary producers. In laboratory trials, Vibrio sp. strain PWH3a was infected with a lytic virus (PWH3a-P1) and the resulting 36.0 µmol L-1 of dissolved organic N (DON) in the lysate was added to cultures containing cyanobacteria (Synechococcus sp. strain DC2) and a natural bacterial assemblage. Based on the increase in cyanobacteria, 74 % (26.5 µmol L-1 N) of the DON in the lysate was remineralised and taken up. Lysate from Vibrio sp. strain PWH3a labeled with 15NH4+ was also added to seawater containing natural microbial communities, and in four field experiments, stable isotope analysis indicated that the uptake of 15N was 0.09 to 0.70 µmol N µg-1 of chlorophyll a. The results from these experiments demonstrate that DON from lysate can be efficiently remineralised and transferred to phytoplankton, and they provide further evidence that the viral shunt is an important link in nitrogen recycling in aquatic systems.