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BMC Microbiol. 2013 Jul 8;13:154. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-13-154.

Potential of bacteriophage ΦAB2 as an environmental biocontrol agent for the control of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.

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1Institute of Medical Sciences, Department of Laboratory Diagnostics, College of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan.



Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) is associated with nosocomial infections worldwide. To date, the use of a phage to prevent infections caused by MDRAB has not been demonstrated.


The MDRAB-specific phage ϕAB2 was stable at 4°C and pH 7 in 0.5% chloroform solution, and showed a slight decrease in plaque-forming units (PFU)/ml of 0.3-0.9 log after 330 days of storage. The addition of ϕAB2 at a concentration of at least 10⁵ PFU/ml to an A. baumannii M3237 suspension killed >99.9% of A. baumannii M3237 after 5 min, regardless of A. baumannii M3237 concentration (10⁴, 10⁵, or 10⁶ colony-forming units (CFU)/ml). The addition of ϕAB2 at a concentration of 10⁸ PFU/slide (>10⁷ PFU/cm²) to glass slides containing A. baumannii M3237 at 10⁴, 10⁵, or 10⁶ CFU/slide, significantly reduced bacterial numbers by 93%, 97%, and 99%, respectively. Thus, this concentration is recommended for decontamination of glass surfaces. Moreover, infusion of ϕAB2 into 10% glycerol exhibited strong anti-MDRAB activity (99.9% reduction), even after 90 days of storage. Treatment of a 10% paraffin oil-based lotion with ϕAB2 significantly reduced (99%) A. baumannii M3237 after 1 day of storage. However, ϕAB2 had no activity in the lotion after 1 month of storage.


Phages may be useful for reducing MDRAB contamination in liquid suspensions or on hard surfaces. Phages may also be inoculated into a solution to produce an antiseptic hand wash. However, the phage concentration and incubation time (the duration of phage contact with bacteria) should be carefully considered to reduce the risk of MDRAB contamination.

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