Back to Journals » Infection and Drug Resistance » Volume 11

Efficient removal of hospital pathogens from hard surfaces by a combined use of bacteriophages and probiotics: potential as sanitizing agents

Authors D'Accolti M, Soffritti I, Piffanelli M, Bisi M, Mazzacane S, Caselli E

Received 3 April 2018

Accepted for publication 16 May 2018

Published 30 July 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 1015—1026


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Joachim Wink

Maria D’Accolti,1 Irene Soffritti,1 Micol Piffanelli,1 Matteo Bisi,1 Sante Mazzacane,1 Elisabetta Caselli1,2

1CIAS Interdepartmental Centre, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; 2Section of Microbiology, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Purpose: Many hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) can be transmitted by pathogens contaminating hospital surfaces, not efficiently controlled by conventional sanitation, which can indeed contribute to the selection of MDR strains. Bacteriophages have been suggested as decontaminating agents, based on their selective ability to kill specific bacteria. However, there are no data on their stability in detergents and their potential use in routine sanitation. On the other hand, a probiotic-based sanitation system (Probiotic Cleaning Hygiene System, PCHS) was recently shown to stably reduce pathogens on treated surfaces. However, its action is not specific and slow, being based on competitive antagonism. This work aimed to assess the effectiveness of a combined use of phages and PCHS in removing HAI-associated pathogens from different hard surfaces.
Materials and methods: The decontamination ability of phages in PCHS was tested in vitro and in situ, against drug-susceptible or resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains, and using bacterial densities similar to those detected on hospital surfaces.
Results: Phages targeted efficiently all tested bacteria, maintaining their full activity when added to the PCHS detergent. Notably, the combined use of phages and PCHS not only resulted in a rapid reduction (up to >90%) of the targeted pathogens, but also, due to the stabilizing effect of probiotics, the pathogens were maintained at low levels (>99%) at later times too, when instead the effect of phages tends to diminish.
Conclusion: These results suggest that a combined biological system might be successfully used in hospital sanitation protocols, potentially leading to effective and safe elimination of MDR pathogens from the hospital environment.

Keywords: drug-resistant bacteria, hospital infections, biological decontamination, bacteriophages, probiotics

Corrigendum for this paper has been published

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]