Methods to Study Antagonistic Activities Among Oral Bacteria

Fengxia Qi, Jens Kreth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Most bacteria in nature exist in multispecies communities known as biofilms. In the natural habitat where resources (nutrient, space, etc.) are usually limited, individual species must compete or collaborate with other neighboring species in order to perpetuate in the multispecies community. The human oral cavity is colonized by >700 microbial species known as the indigenous microbiota. This indigenous flora normally maintains an ecological balance through antagonistic as well as mutualistic interspecies interactions. However, environmental perturbation may disrupt this balance, leading to overgrowth of pathogenic species which could in turn initiate diseases such as dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontitis (gum disease). Understanding the mechanisms of diversity maintenance may help developing novel approaches to manage these “polymicrobial diseases”. In this chapter, we will focus on a well-characterized form of biochemical warfare: bacteriocins produced by Streptococcus mutans, a primary dental caries pathogen, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) produced by several oral commensal streptococci. We will describe detailed methodologies on the competition assay, isolation, purification, and characterization of bacteriocins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Bacteriocins
  • Biofilms
  • Hydrogen peroxide (HO)
  • Interspecies competition
  • Luciferase reporter
  • Oral streptococci
  • Streptococcus mutans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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