Oral Biology pp 203-218 | Cite as

Methods to Study Antagonistic Activities Among Oral Bacteria

  • Fengxia QiEmail author
  • Jens Kreth
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1537)


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 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.

Key words

Bacteriocins Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2Oral streptococci Streptococcus mutans Interspecies competition Biofilms Luciferase reporter 


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center BRC364Oklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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