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J Theor Biol. 2001 Jan 7;208(1):27-36.

Predation in the presence of decoys: an inhibitory factor on pathogen control by bacteriophages or bdellovibrios in dense and diverse ecosystems.

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Institute for Mathematics and Computing Science, University of Groningen, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.


Several attempts have been made at the removal of specific pathogens from the intestinal microflora using either bacteriophages or "predatory" bacteria such as Bdellovibrio spp. To date these attempts have had mixed success. A mechanism explaining these findings based on competitive hindrance by non-prey, or decoy species is put forward. It is shown that this hindrance tends to damp out predator-prey oscillations, and therefore reduces the probability of prey extinction. Possible experiments to verify this theory are discussed. The decoy effect may play a role in any system with high densities of bacteria or other particulate matter, such as activated sludge or biofilms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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