Where to find phages?

"Bacteria are everywhere" is commonly used to describe the ubiquity of bacteria in our surroundings. Some people go further to think they are the most ubiquitous organisms on the planet. Nevertheless, It is estimated there are more than 1031 bacteriophages on the planet, more than every other organism on Earth, including bacteria, combined. Their fore bacteriophages are the most prevalent entity than any other. Bacteriophages can be found everywhere right from earth's crust, rivers, mountains, oceans, deserts, and even inside human bodies just to mention a few.
sewage treatment plant photo by Melanie Carol Stengel / C-Hit.org

What are the most common places to isolate phages from?

Scientists have figured out the best place to find phage for a certain bacteria is where you can find that bacteria.
  • Sewage
  • Effluents
  • Dump places
  • Soil
  • Body organ

How do you isolate phages?

The isolation of bacteriophages for phage therapy is often presented as a fairly straightforward exercise of mixing a phage-containing sample with host bacteria, followed by simple removal of bacterial debris by filtration and/or centrifugation the next day (More technical information about the isolation of bacteriophage can be found here). The lysate will need purification after filtration and some other characterization depending on the phage's final use.

Can bacteriophage obtained from dirty places like sewage, dump places, and effluents be used for phage therapy?

Absolutely yes, Bacteriophage isolated from anywhere can be used for phage therapy provided that it does not contain undesirable characters like Antibiotics Resistance genes and many others. Regardless of the sample source of the given bacteriophage scientists will work hard to purify the particle and screen it for anything that might not be good for the body before submitting the phage ready for therapy.

What factors determine the availability of bacteriophages in the environment?

Many factors can affect the availability of bacteriophages in an area. 
  • Bacteria concentration and diversity (this is directly proportional to the bacteriophage concentration and diversity in an area)
  • Sun rays (UV light) and other radiations
  • Matrix/media
  • Natural and artificial (man-made) activities
  • Physicochemical (Ph, Temperature e.t.c) properties of an area

Bacteriophages are viruses that can specifically infect and replicate inside target bacteria by injecting their acid nucleic content that incorporates into the bacterial genome or remains a stable episome replicating with their host.


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