Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 is capable of forming highly structured surface-attached communities. By DNase I treatment, we demonstrated that extracellular DNA (eDNA) serves as a structural component in all stages of biofilm formation under static and hydrodynamic conditions. We determined whether eDNA is released through cell lysis mediated by the three prophages LambdaSo, MuSo1 and MuSo2 that are harbored in the genome of S. oneidensis MR-1. Mutant analyses and infection studies revealed that all three prophages may individually lead to cell lysis. However, only LambdaSo and MuSo2 form infectious phage particles. Phage release and cell lysis already occur during early stages of static incubation. A mutant devoid of the prophages was significantly less prone to lysis in pure culture. In addition, the phage-less mutant was severely impaired in biofilm formation through all stages of development, and three-dimensional growth occurred independently of eDNA as a structural component. Thus, we suggest that in S. oneidensis MR-1 prophage-mediated lysis results in the release of crucial biofilm-promoting factors, in particular eDNA.