Bacteriophages, the viruses that infect bacteria, have for decades been successfully used to combat antibiotic-resistant, chronic bacterial infections, many of which are likely biofilm associated. Antibiotics as anti-biofilm agents can, by contrast, be inefficacious against even genetically sensitive targets. Such deficiencies in usefulness may result from antibiotics, as naturally occurring compounds, not serving their producers, in nature, as stand-alone disruptors of mature biofilms. Anti-biofilm effectiveness by phages, by contrast, may result from a combination of inherent abilities to concentrate lytic antibacterial activity intracellularly via bacterial infection and extracellularly via localized population growth. Considered here is the anti-biofilm activity of microorganisms, with a case presented for why, ecologically, bacteriophages can be more efficacious than traditional antibiotics as medically or environmentally applied biofilm-disrupting agents. Four criteria, it can be argued, generally must be met, in combination, for microorganisms to eradicate biofilms: (1) Furnishing of sufficiently effective antibacterial factors, (2) intimate interaction with biofilm bacteria over extended periods, (3) associated ability to concentrate antibacterial factors in or around targets, and, ultimately, (4) a means of physically disrupting or displacing target bacteria. In nature, lytic predators of bacteria likely can meet these criteria whereas antibiotic production, in and of itself, largely may not.
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