The process by which large numbers of natural product extracts or chemicals (compound libraries) are tested for antimicrobial activity using automated and/or robotic equipment.

High-throughput screens can either test the ability of compounds to inhibit a specific bacterial target or, more generally, to inhibit the growth of bacterial cells (see: ‘bacteriostatic‘) or kill bacteria (see: ‘bactericidal‘).

Compounds discovered to have antibacterial activity in initial screens are known as ‘hits’.