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Bacteriophages FAQs

BfR FAQ of 6 November 2019

Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that exclusively infect bacteria. The term phage is derived from Greek and means "bacteria-eater". Phages generally possess a narrow host range so that they can often only infect and kill few strains of a species (for example, E. coli). Two types are distinguished: virulent (lytic) phages and temperate phages. The process for virulent phages sees them multiplying in the infected bacteria, causing the bacteria to disintegrate. Newly formed phages are then released as part of this. In contrast, temperate phages can integrate their genome into that of the bacteria. The bacteria continue to live and then propagate with the genome of the phage.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has put together an FAQ on the topic of bacteriophages.



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Bacteriophages FAQs 50.7 KB


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