Probiotic bacteria and biosurfactants for nosocomial infection control: a hypothesis

J Hosp Infect. 2009 Apr;71(4):301-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2008.12.008. Epub 2009 Feb 6.


The adaptation of strict hygienic practices by healthcare personnel as well as the implementation of appropriate cleaning and disinfection measures form the basis of infection control policies. However, nosocomial infections constitute a considerable problem even in hospitals with meticulous infection control programmes. This should prompt biomedical researchers to evaluate the efficacy and safety of novel infection control measures. There is preliminary evidence that probiotic type micro-organisms may antagonise the growth of nosocomial pathogens on inanimate surfaces. We therefore propose the hypothesis that environmental probiotic organisms may represent a safe and effective intervention for infection control purposes. We suggest that probiotics or their products (biosurfactants), could be applied to patient care equipment, such as tubes or catheters, with the aim of decreasing colonisation of sites by nosocomial pathogens. This could potentially impede a central step in the pathogenesis of nosocomial infections.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antibiosis
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Equipment and Supplies / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Surface-Active Agents