Submitted to: Poultry Science Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 3, 2004
Publication Date: July 25, 2004
Citation: Huff, W.E., Huff, G.R., Rath, N.C., Balog, J.M., Donoghue, A.M. 2004. Alternative to antibiotics - utilization of bacteriophage to prevent foodborne pathogens. In: Proceedings of the Poultry Science Symposium. 2004 Joint ADSA, ASAS, PSA Annual Meeting, July 25-29, 2004, St. Louis, Misouri. v. 82(Suppl. 1):81. Technical Abstract: Bacteriophage are potentially a safe alternative to antibiotic therapy. Bacteriophage lytic to a non-motile, serotype O2 isolate of Escherichia coli were isolated from municipal waste water treatment plants and poultry processing plants. This E. coli isolate is pathogenic to poultry, causing a severe respiratory and systemic infection. Two bacteriophage isolates were selected to use in studies designed to determine the efficacy of these bacteriophage to prevent and treat severe colibacillosis in poultry. Colibacillosis is induced by injecting 6 X 10(4) cfu of E. coli into the thoracic airsac when the birds are 1 week of age. Initial studies demonstrated that mortality was significantly reduced from 85% to 35% when the challenge culture was mixed with equal titers of bacteriophage, and the birds were completely protected when the challenge culture was mixed with 108 pfu of bacteriophage. In subsequent studies, we have shown that an aerosol spray of bacteriophage given to the birds prior to this E. coli challenge could significantly reduce mortality even when given 3 days prior to the E. coli challenge. Our research on treating colibacillosis in poultry has demonstrated that an intramuscular injection of bacteriophage given 24 or 48 h after the birds were challenged rescued the birds from this severe E. coli infection. Our research has demonstrated that bacteriophage can be used to both prevent and treat colibacillosis in poultry and may provide an effective alternative to antibiotic use in animal production.