Bacteriophages and Biofilms
Ecology, Phage Therapy, Plaques

Stephen T. Abedon

Publisher page |  Google page |  Amazon page

"Bacteriophages (phages) are the viruses of bacteria and biofilms represent a frequent niche for bacteria, where they are embedded in extensive extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and can be structured into complex microcolonies. As a consequence of the resulting spatial structure and heterogeneity, phage-bacterial interactions within biofilms can be more complicated than those between phages and planktonic bacteria. Towards gaining a better understanding of the biology of phages interacting with biofilms, in this monograph I provide an overview of the subject, divided into five areas: (i) The many facets of phage-biofilm interactive biology including consideration of virus trapping, phage hydrolytic enzymes such as EPS depolymerases, infection of biofilm bacteria, and phage prevalence within natural biofilms. (ii) Prophage-biofilm interactions including in terms of prophage modification of biofilm structure or function along with the potential for biofilms to resist phage attack. (iii) A critical review of the literature concerning phage use as biofilm prevention or eradication agents (phage therapy or phage-mediated biocontrol). (iv) Discussion of phage-biofilm interactions from the perspective of phage-plaque development, since plaque formation might inform phage-biofilm interactions plus may be better understood at microscales than phage interactions with biofilm bacteria. And (v), exploration of issues pertaining to phage penetration into the bacterial microcolonies. I also provide discussions related to phage-biofilm interactions including of Poisson distributions, multiplicity of infection, calculating killing titers (phage numbers killing bacteria), calculating decimal reduction times of bacteria following phage application, and the concept of pseudolysogeny. I stress that key to understanding the dynamics of phage-bacterial interactions within biofilms is a combination of addressing how phages move towards and move away from target bacteria, including in terms of the phage potential to burrow into bacterial microcolonies. I also suggest that that it may not be necessary for phages, even if they specialize on biofilm bacteria, to extensively destroy naturally occurring biofilms in order to prosper."

For additional information or questions, contact the author.

Note that the "zeroth edition" of the book, that is, the chapter-basis of the book, which is open access, can be found here.