Anti-infective properties of bacteriocins: an update
Bacteriocin production is a widespread phenomenon among bacteria. Bacteriocins hold great promise for the treatment of diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria and could be used in the future as alternatives to existing antibiotics. The anti-infective potential of bacteriocins for inhibiting pathogens has been shown in various food matrices including cheese, meat, and vegetables. However, their inhibition of pathogens in vivo remains unclear and needs more investigation, due mainly to difficulties associated with demonstrating their health benefits. Many bacteriocins produced by established or potential probiotic organisms have been evaluated as potential therapeutic agents and interesting findings have been documented in vitro as well as in a few in vivo studies. Some recent in vivo studies point to the efficacy of bacteriocin-based treatments of human and animal infections. While further investigation remains necessary before the possibilities for bacteriocins in clinical practice can be described more fully, this review provides an overview of their potential applications to human and veterinary health.