Bacteriophage biology: fundamentals and applications to combating bacteria in agriculture and health
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Bacteria are a growing threat in human and veterinary medicine, as well as in agriculture, where valuable crops are increasingly subject to microbial disease, and industry, where microbial corrosion and fouling have long been a major problem. We are losing ground against bacteria in all these areas. Traditional antibiotics are rapidly losing their effectiveness against bacterial disease in humans and are being withdrawn from applications in veterinary clinic and animal husbandry. Chemical biocides for use in agriculture and industry are being disqualified because of their toxicity to the environment.It is with these trends in mind that I propose to continue our efforts to advance the basic biology of bacteriophage, the viruses of bacteria, as a natural alternative for combating bacteria in health, agriculture and industry.Bacteria inhabit every niche in the biosphere, at an estimated population of -1029, or more than ten million trillion for each human on earth (Hendrix et al., 1999). Bacterial infections cause most of the important diseases of humans, animals and plants. Moreover, bacteria are major sources of contamination, degradation and corrosion in many critical economic and industrial sectors, especially in fuel pipelines and storage facilities..........