How are bacteriophages (phages) produced?

Phage product
Three types of phages are used to prepare diluted solutions in a French hospital (ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP / Getty)

How are phage products produced?

Bacteriophage, as a virus, requires a host cell to multiply; specifically, these particles will require a specific bacteria to support their multiplication. In artificial production, scientists use the same method simply by introducing a bacteriophage to the bacteria of interest in a culture media for a set period of time. This allows the phage to infect the bacteria and thus allows the virus to multiply. (For more technical information, visit the phage protocols website)

Phage production can be:

Small scale phage production

Most occur in research laboratories; for experimental purposes, a large number of phages may not be required. The majority of phage characterization and susceptibility testing occurs during small-scale phage production. Before bulking production into larger volumes, research and development for large-scale productions take place on a small scale.

Large scale phage production (Industrial-scale production)

As the name implies, the majority of what happens occurs in industries; well-established production lines produce large quantities primarily for commercial use. While small-scale production requires a small number of people, large-scale production requires a large number of people, ranging from lead scientists to technicians.

Top 8 uses/applications of bacteriophages

Bacteriophages are used for a variety of purposes. 

According to the Centers for disease control & prevention CDC, at least 23,000 people in the United States & around 33,000 people in Europe die due to antibiotic-resistant infections. With increasing inpatient care, there has been a rise in the adoption of bacteriophage in phage research centers, along with bacteriophage supplements. Expect to see more and more phage-based products soon.

About the author

Hello there!

I'm Raphael Hans Lwesya. I have a deep interest in phage research and science communication. I strive to simplify complex ideas and present the latest phage-related research in an easy-to-digest format. Thank you for visiting The Phage blog. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me at [email protected].

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