Antibiotics have revolutionised the treatment of infectious disease and improved the lives of billions of people worldwide over many decades. With the rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and corresponding lack of antibiotic development, we find ourselves in dire need of alternative treatments. Bacteriocins are a class of bacterially produced, ribosomally synthesised, antimicrobial peptides that may be narrow or broad in their spectra of activity. Animal models have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of bacteriocins in treating a broad range of infections; however, one of the principal drawbacks has been their relatively narrow spectra when compared with small-molecule antibiotics. In an era where we are beginning to appreciate the role of the microbiota in human and animal health, the fact that bacteriocins cause much less collateral damage to the host microbiome makes them a highly desirable therapeutic. This review makes a case for the implementation of bacteriocins as therapeutic antimicrobials, either alone or in combination with existing antibiotics to alleviate the AMR crisis and to lessen the impact of antibiotics on the host microbiome.
- antibiotic-associated diarrhoea;
- antimicrobial resistance;
- acute otitis media;
- Clostridium difficile-associated disorder;
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention;
- Escherichia coli Nissle;
- minimum inhibitory concentration;
- vancomycin-resistant Enterococci.
- Received January 20, 2017.
- Revision received February 27, 2017.
- Accepted March 1, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society