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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Alternative to Antibiotics - Utilization of Bacteriophage to Treat Colibacillosis and Prevent Foodborne Pathogens

Authors
item Huff, William
item Huff, Geraldine
item Rath, Narayan
item Balog, Janice
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 16, 2004
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Citation: Huff, W.E., Huff, G.R., Rath, N.C., Balog, J.M., Donoghue, A.M. 2005. Alternative to antibiotics - Utilization of bacteriophage to treat colibacillosis and prevent foodborne pathogens. Poultry Science. 84:655-659.

Interpretive Summary: Bacteriophage are potentially a safe alternative to antibiotic therapy. Bacteriophage that kill 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 was induced by injecting 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 10 x 8 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. We have 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.

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 was induced by injecting 6 X 10 x 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 10 x 8 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. We have 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.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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