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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #177822


item Callaway, Todd
item Anderson, Robin
item Edrington, Thomas
item Harvey, Roger
item Byrd Ii, James - Allen
item Nisbet, David
item Genovese, Kenneth - Ken
item KUTTER, E

Submitted to: Asociacion Nacional De Especialistas En Ciencas
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2005
Publication Date: 4/27/2005
Citation: Callaway, T.R., Anderson, R.C., Edrington, T.S., Harvey, R.B., Byrd II, J.A., Nisbet, D.J., Genovese, K.J., Brabban, A.D., Kutter, E.S. 2005. Bacteriophage as a strategy to reduce food-borne pathogenic bacteria in food animals. In: Proceedings of the XXX Convencion Anual de ANECA, April 27-30, 2005, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 2005 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Bacteriophage (bacterial viruses) attack and kill bacteria. Food-borne pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 are commonly isolated from poultry, swine, and ruminants and are sensitive to phage attack. Reducing the number of pathogens entering the slaughter plant should reduce the exposure of pathogens to consumers. One method to reduce pathogens in the live animal is to use naturally-occurring bacteriophage to specifically kill food-borne pathogenic bacteria. We have isolated phage that kill food-borne pathogenic bacteria in feedlot cattle and are currently evaluating their effectiveness as a pre-harvest intervention strategy.

Technical Abstract: Food-borne pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 are commonly isolated from food-producing animals and are responsible for many human food-borne illnesses. Utilizing multiple pre-harvest interventions could significantly increase the microbiological safety of food products derived from food producing animals. Several pre-harvest intervention strategies have been suggested over the years. One strategy that has been suggested to help reduce food-borne pathogens in animals prior to slaughter is the use of bacteriophage. Bacteriophage (bacterial viruses) attack and kill bacteria and have very narrow target spectra; some phage may be active against only a specific bacterial strain. We have isolated phage active against E. coli O157:H7 from feedlots in the Southern Plains region of the United States. Anti-E. coli O157:H7 phages were found in 15% of the fecal samples. Anti-E. coli O157:H7 phages were present in all four feedlots and were found in 55% of the cattle pens. Thus it appears that anti-E. coli O157:H7 phage are widespread geographically in commercial feedlot cattle. The effectiveness of phage treatment in real world conditions have been variable to date, therefore more basic work needs to be completed before bacteriophages can be considered a viable method to control populations of food-borne pathogenic bacteria in food animals. Concerns about potential lateral gene transfer among bacteria must be addressed as well as before phage utilization in food animals can become common place.