Exploiting gut bacteriophages for human health

Trends Microbiol. 2014 Jul;22(7):399-405. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Mar 20.


The human gut contains approximately 10(15) bacteriophages (the 'phageome'), probably the richest concentration of biological entities on earth. Mining and exploiting these potential 'agents of change' is an attractive prospect. For many years, phages have been used to treat bacterial infections in humans and more recently have been approved to reduce pathogens in the food chain. Phages have also been studied as drug or vaccine delivery vectors to help treat and prevent diseases such as cancer and chronic neurodegenerative conditions. Individual phageomes vary depending on age and health, thus providing a useful biomarker of human health as well as suggesting potential interventions targeted at the gut microbiota.

Keywords: bacteriophage; human health; phage therapy; phageome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / isolation & purification*
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Food Industry / methods
  • Food Microbiology / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / virology*
  • Humans
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Viral Vaccines / genetics
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*


  • Viral Vaccines