Framing the Future with Bacteriophages in Agriculture

Viruses. 2018 Apr 25;10(5):218. doi: 10.3390/v10050218.


The ability of agriculture to continually provide food to a growing world population is of crucial importance. Bacterial diseases of plants and animals have continually reduced production since the advent of crop cultivation and animal husbandry practices. Antibiotics have been used extensively to mitigate these losses. The rise of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria, however, together with consumers’ calls for antibiotic-free products, presents problems that threaten sustainable agriculture. Bacteriophages (phages) are proposed as bacterial population control alternatives to antibiotics. Their unique properties make them highly promising but challenging antimicrobials. The use of phages in agriculture also presents a number of unique challenges. This mini-review summarizes recent development and perspectives of phages used as antimicrobial agents in plant and animal agriculture at the farm level. The main pathogens and their adjoining phage therapies are discussed.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance; bacteriophage; phage therapy; sustainable agriculture; zoonosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / trends*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / virology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary
  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Phage Therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents