A bacteriostatic agent or bacteriostat, abbreviated Bstatic, is a biological or chemical agent that stops bacteria from reproducing, while not necessarily killing them otherwise. Depending on their application, bacteriostatic antibiotics, disinfectants, antiseptics and preservatives can be distinguished. When bacteriostatic antimicrobials are used, the duration of therapy must be sufficient to allow host defense mechanisms to eradicate the bacteria. Upon removal of the bacteriostat, the bacteria usually start to grow rapidly. This is in contrast to bactericides, which kill bacteria.