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      Application of filamentous phages in environment: A tectonic shift in the science and practice of ecorestoration

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          Theories in soil biology, such as plant–microbe interactions and microbial cooperation and antagonism, have guided the practice of ecological restoration (ecorestoration). Below‐ground biodiversity (bacteria, fungi, invertebrates, etc.) influences the development of above‐ground biodiversity (vegetation structure). The role of rhizosphere bacteria in plant growth has been largely investigated but the role of phages (bacterial viruses) has received a little attention. Below the ground, phages govern the ecology and evolution of microbial communities by affecting genetic diversity, host fitness, population dynamics, community composition, and nutrient cycling. However, few restoration efforts take into account the interactions between bacteria and phages. Unlike other phages, filamentous phages are highly specific, nonlethal, and influence host fitness in several ways, which make them useful as target bacterial inocula. Also, the ease with which filamentous phages can be genetically manipulated to express a desired peptide to track and control pathogens and contaminants makes them useful in biosensing. Based on ecology and biology of filamentous phages, we developed a hypothesis on the application of phages in environment to derive benefits at different levels of biological organization ranging from individual bacteria to ecosystem for ecorestoration. We examined the potential applications of filamentous phages in improving bacterial inocula to restore vegetation and to monitor changes in habitat during ecorestoration and, based on our results, recommend a reorientation of the existing framework of using microbial inocula for such restoration and monitoring. Because bacterial inocula and biomonitoring tools based on filamentous phages are likely to prove useful in developing cost‐effective methods of restoring vegetation, we propose that filamentous phages be incorporated into nature‐based restoration efforts and that the tripartite relationship between phages, bacteria, and plants be explored further. Possible impacts of filamentous phages on native microflora are discussed and future areas of research are suggested to preclude any potential risks associated with such an approach.

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          Origins and evolution of antibiotic resistance.

          Antibiotics have always been considered one of the wonder discoveries of the 20th century. This is true, but the real wonder is the rise of antibiotic resistance in hospitals, communities, and the environment concomitant with their use. The extraordinary genetic capacities of microbes have benefitted from man's overuse of antibiotics to exploit every source of resistance genes and every means of horizontal gene transmission to develop multiple mechanisms of resistance for each and every antibiotic introduced into practice clinically, agriculturally, or otherwise. This review presents the salient aspects of antibiotic resistance development over the past half-century, with the oft-restated conclusion that it is time to act. To achieve complete restitution of therapeutic applications of antibiotics, there is a need for more information on the role of environmental microbiomes in the rise of antibiotic resistance. In particular, creative approaches to the discovery of novel antibiotics and their expedited and controlled introduction to therapy are obligatory.
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            A biofilm is a structured consortium of bacteria embedded in a self-produced polymer matrix consisting of polysaccharide, protein and DNA. Bacterial biofilms cause chronic infections because they show increased tolerance to antibiotics and disinfectant chemicals as well as resisting phagocytosis and other components of the body's defence system. The persistence of, for example, staphylococcal infections related to foreign bodies is due to biofilm formation. Likewise, chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients is caused by biofilm-growing mucoid strains. Characteristically, gradients of nutrients and oxygen exist from the top to the bottom of biofilms and these gradients are associated with decreased bacterial metabolic activity and increased doubling times of the bacterial cells; it is these more or less dormant cells that are responsible for some of the tolerance to antibiotics. Biofilm growth is associated with an increased level of mutations as well as with quorum-sensing-regulated mechanisms. Conventional resistance mechanisms such as chromosomal beta-lactamase, upregulated efflux pumps and mutations in antibiotic target molecules in bacteria also contribute to the survival of biofilms. Biofilms can be prevented by early aggressive antibiotic prophylaxis or therapy and they can be treated by chronic suppressive therapy. A promising strategy may be the use of enzymes that can dissolve the biofilm matrix (e.g. DNase and alginate lyase) as well as quorum-sensing inhibitors that increase biofilm susceptibility to antibiotics. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. and the International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.
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              Bacterial competition: surviving and thriving in the microbial jungle.

              Most natural environments harbour a stunningly diverse collection of microbial species. In these communities, bacteria compete with their neighbours for space and resources. Laboratory experiments with pure and mixed cultures have revealed many active mechanisms by which bacteria can impair or kill other microorganisms. In addition, a growing body of theoretical and experimental population studies indicates that the interactions within and between bacterial species can have a profound impact on the outcome of competition in nature. The next challenge is to integrate the findings of these laboratory and theoretical studies and to evaluate the predictions that they generate in more natural settings.

                Author and article information

                Ecol Evol
                Ecol Evol
                Ecology and Evolution
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                25 January 2019
                February 2019
                : 9
                : 4 ( doiID: 10.1002/ece3.2019.9.issue-4 )
                : 2263-2304
                [ 1 ] Bioresources and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Environmental Studies University of Delhi Delhi India
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Radhey Shyam Sharma, Bioresources and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.

                Emails: radheyss26@ ; rads26@

                Vandana Mishra, Bioresources and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.

                Email: mistletoe_h@


                Contributed equally.

                © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 7, Pages: 42, Words: 73469
                Custom metadata
                February 2019
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:5.6.0 mode:remove_FC converted:27.02.2019


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