Meeting global food demands for a growing human population with finite natural resources is a major challenge. Aquaculture and agriculture are critical to satisfy food requirements, yet suffer significant losses from bacterial diseases. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel antimicrobial strategies, which is heightened by increasing antibiotic resistance. Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that specifically infect bacteria, and phage-derived therapies are promising treatments in the fight against bacterial diseases. Here, we describe multiple ways that phages and phage-based technologies can be used as antimicrobials. Antimicrobial activity can be achieved through lysis of targeted bacteria by virulent phages or lytic enzymes. Alternatively, phages can be engineered for the delivery of lethal genes and other cargoes to kill bacteria and to manipulate the bacterial response to conventional antibiotics. We also briefly highlight research exploring phages as potential biocontrol agents with examples from agriculture and aquaculture.

You do not currently have access to this content.