Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2741

Article in Press

Bacteriophages and phage products: Applications in medicine and biotechnological industries, and general concerns

Mulugeta Belay, Tesfaye Sisay, Tesfaye Wolde

Since their discovery in 1928 antibiotics have transformed medicine and saved millions of lives; however, the current global appearance of antibiotic resistance and absence of new antibiotics commercialization to the health sector return to the post-antibiotic era. Today, scientists are working to revive a century old technique of using bacteriophage as an option to currently available antibiotics in management of bacterial pathogens (resistant or otherwise), and for other practical applications. Bacteriophages, specialist viral predator of bacteria, are considered to be among the most plentiful and diversified organisms in this world and were co-discovered in the early 1900s by Twort in 1915 and d’Herelle in 1917. Since then, phages were investigated by d’Herelle and others for their promising therapeutic role against medically important bacterial infections, and were commercially developed in the 1930s. However, the golden age of antibiotics, together with the scientific controversy regarding their use, the interest in phage therapy rapidly declined. As a mark of the transformed attention, the field of phage research, using intact phage and phage products, has broadened to focus on several different areas: and have been successfully applied in agriculture and food industry to control bacteria pathogens; for the detection of bacterial pathogens, as deliverance carriers for DNA and protein vaccines; and as agents for selection to libraries of proteins, antibodies (phage display). Despite these remarkable achievements, it is important to remember that phages are not infallible, and that there are real concerns that need to be addressed, like narrow host range, bacterial phage resistance, phage clearance in bodily fluids, side effects of bacterial lysis and virulence genes transfer. Up to date progress in biotechnology and synthetic biology can help conquer these methodological obstacles, and provide a more versatile approach for the current antibiotics resistance crisis.

Keywords: Bacteriophages, biotechnological application, antibiotics resistance, phage products.