Unravelling the consequences of the bacteriophages in human samples

Pedro Blanco-Picazo, Dietmar Fernández-Orth, Maryury Brown-Jaque, Elisenda Miró, Paula Espinal, Lorena Rodríguez-Rubio, Maite Muniesa*, Ferran Navarro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Bacteriophages are abundant in human biomes and therefore in human clinical samples. Although this is usually not considered, they might interfere with the recovery of bacterial pathogens at two levels: 1) by propagating in the enrichment cultures used to isolate the infectious agent, causing the lysis of the bacterial host and 2) by the detection of bacterial genes inside the phage capsids that mislead the presence of the bacterial pathogen. To unravel these interferences, human samples (n = 271) were analyzed and infectious phages were observed in 11% of blood culture, 28% of serum, 45% of ascitic fluid, 14% of cerebrospinal fluid and 23% of urine samples. The genetic content of phage particles from a pool of urine and ascitic fluid samples corresponded to bacteriophages infecting different bacterial genera. In addition, many bacterial genes packaged in the phage capsids, including antibiotic resistance genes and 16S rRNA genes, were detected in the viromes. Phage interference can be minimized applying a simple procedure that reduced the content of phages up to 3 logs while maintaining the bacterial load. This method reduced the detection of phage genes avoiding the interference with molecular detection of bacteria and reduced the phage propagation in the cultures, enhancing the recovery of bacteria up to 6 logs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6737
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Unravelling the consequences of the bacteriophages in human samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this