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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO ANTIBIOTICS FOR CONTROLLING BACTERIAL RESPIRATORY PATHOGENS IN POULTRY

Location: Poultry Production and Products Safety Research

Title: Bacteriophage for prophylaxis and therapy in cattle, poultry, and pigs.

Authors
item Johnson, R -
item Gyles, C -
item Huff, William
item Ojha, S -
item Huff, Geraldine
item Rath, Narayan
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Animal Health Research Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 19, 2008
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
Citation: Johnson, R.P., Gyles, C.L., Huff, W.E., Ojha, S., Huff, G.R., Rath, N.C., Donoghue, A.M. 2009. Bacteriophage for prophylaxis and therapy in cattle, poultry, and pigs. Animal Health Research Reviews. 9(2):201-215.

Interpretive Summary: The successful use of bacteriophages (viruses that kill bacteria) in preventing and treating diseases in calves, lambs and pigs has prompted investigation of other applications of bacteriophage therapy in food animals, such as food safety applications. However, much more rigorous and comprehensive research is required to determine the true potential of bacteriophage therapy. Particular challenges include the selection and characterization of bacteriophages, practical modes of administration, and development of formulations that maintain the viability of bacteriophages for administration. Also, meaningful evaluation of bacteriophage therapy will require animal studies that closely represent the intended use, and will include thorough investigation of the emergence and characteristics of phage resistant bacteria. As well, effective use will require understanding the ecology and dynamics of the bacteriophages and their interactions with the target bacteria in the farm environment. In the event that the potential of bacteriophage therapy is realized, adoption will depend on its efficacy and complementarity relative to other interventions. Another potential challenge will be regulatory approval.

Technical Abstract: The successful use of virulent (lytic) bacteriophages (phages) in preventing and treating neonatal enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections in calves, lambs and pigs has prompted investigation of other applications phage therapy in food animals. While results have been very variable, some indicate that phage therapy is potentially useful in virulent Salmonella and E. coli infections in chickens, calves and pigs, and in control of the foodborne pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni in chickens and E. coli O157:H7 in cattle. However, more rigorous and comprehensive research is required to determine the true potential of phage therapy. Particular challenges include the selection and characterization of phages, practical modes of administration, and development of formulations that maintain the viability of phages for administration. Also, meaningful evaluation of phage therapy will require animal studies that closely represent the intended use, and will include thorough investigation of the emergence and characteristics of phage resistant bacteria. As well, effective use will require understanding the ecology and dynamics of the endemic and therapeutic phages and their interactions with the target bacteria in the farm environment. In the event that the potential of phage therapy is realized, adoption will depend on its efficacy and complementarity relative to other interventions. Another potential challenge will be regulatory approval.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014