Bacteriocins are antibacterial proteins produced by bacteria that kill or inhibit the growth of other bacteria. Many lactic acid bacteria (LAB) produce a high diversity of different bacteriocins. Though these bacteriocins are produced by LAB found in numerous fermented and non-fermented foods, nisin is currently the only bacteriocin widely used as a food preservative. Many bacteriocins have been characterized biochemically and genetically, and though there is a basic understanding of their structure-function, biosynthesis, and mode of action, many aspects of these compounds are still unknown. This article gives an overview of bacteriocin applications, and differentiates bacteriocins from antibiotics. A comparison of the synthesis. mode of action, resistance and safety of the two types of molecules is covered. Toxicity data exist for only a few bacteriocins, but research and their long-time intentional use strongly suggest that bacteriocins can be safely used.