FRIDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Bacteria that prey on other bacteria may prove useful in controlling antibiotic-resistant germs, say U.S. researchers.

They tested two types of predatory bacteria -- Micavibrio aeruginosavorus and Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus -- on dozens of other bacteria.

"They actually have to consume other bacteria in order to complete their life cycles. They have a great ability to seek out other bacteria, invade them, grow in or on them, and kill them," lead author Daniel Kadouri, an assistant professor of oral biology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School, said in a university news release.

He and his colleagues found that M. aeruginosavorus reduced populations of 57 of 89 bacteria and B. bacteriovorus reduced populations of 68 of 83 bacteria. The bacteria effectively attacked by the predatory bacteria included lung infection-causing Klebsiella pneumoniae; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can be deadly for cystic fibrosis patients; and Acinetobacter, which in its drug-resistant form can cause difficult-to-treat infections in wounds.

The study was recently published online in advance of print publication in the February issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

The predatory bacteria being examined by Kadouri and his colleagues are considered harmless to humans. But it's not clear whether the human immune system would destroy these bacteria before they could attack harmful bacteria in the body.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about antibiotic resistance.