Many organisms have the ability to form spores, a remarkable phase in their life cycles. Compared with vegetative cells, spores have several advantages (e.g. resistance to toxic compounds, temperature, desiccation and radiation) making them well suited to various applications. The applications of spores that first spring to mind are bio-warfare and the related, but more positive, field of biological control. Although they are often considered metabolically inert, spores can also be used as biocatalysts. Other uses for spores are found in the fields of probiotics, tumour detection and treatment, biosensing and in the 'war against drugs'.