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The antibiotic ( Greek ἀντί anti , German , v ' and βίος bíos , German ' life ' ) is a relationship between individuals or groups of different species ( interspecific relationship ) that brings one of the parties disadvantages and inhibiting its growth, or it kills.

Antibiosis can be defined on the level of behavioral biology or on the molecular level and occurs specifically as a defense mechanism and to eliminate competition or indirectly as a result of changed environmental conditions, such as lack of food. The human immune system has an antibiotic effect on bacteria because it kills pathogenic bacteria. Certain chemotherapeutic agents are also used in medicine to treat infectious diseases, which is also known as antibiosis in medical colloquial language.

In behavioral biology and ecology , antibiosis was commonly understood to mean:

Today, these relationships are not always viewed as directed against life (i.e. antibiotic), since these relationships, like symbiosis , parabiosis or probiosis, are only one aspect of the complex interaction of a biocenosis (community).

More often, antibiosis is understood to mean an inhibition of growth or the killing of microorganisms by metabolic products of other bacteria , fungi or, in some cases, higher-order plants . Such a killing is used as a protective mechanism against or defense against parasites and bacteria or viruses . In the plant kingdom, some fungi use synthesized antibiotics to restrict the growth of bacteria. In a broader sense, however, many excretions from plants and animals that inhibit the growth of other organisms in the environment also count as antibiosis.

Other examples are organisms that use antibiosis to protect their outer skin from contamination. In seawater, sponges , sea ​​squirts , sea ​​rollers , soft corals and gorgonians are affected.

The term antibiosis was introduced to science by Paul Vuillemin in 1889 .


  • Antibiose and symbiosis . In: Assoc. franc. pour l'Avanc. des Sciences . tape 2 . Paris 1889, p. 525-542 (French).

Web links

Wiktionary: Antibiosis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Antibiont  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations