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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Connerton, Ian
item Connerton, Phillippa
item Barrow, Paul
item Seal, Bruce
item Atterbury, Robert

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2007
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
Citation: Connerton, I.F., Connerton, P.L., Barrow, P., Seal, B.S., Atterbury, R.J. 2008. BACTERIOPHAGE THERAPY AND CAMPYLOBACTER. Book Chapter.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacters are bacteria that normally inhabit chickens in their gastrointestinal tract and can cause a significant proportion of human food-borne disease. Handling and consumption of poultry or poultry related products are considered to be a source for this bacterial food-associated disease agent in humans. The high colonization incidences of poultry by campylobacters and the resultant clinical infections in humans have prompted a number of investigations focused upon identifying and subsequently eliminating Campylobacter spp. from poultry. Also, the European Union (EU) has been banned the use of antimicrobial growth promoters in animal feeds because of concerns over the spread of antibiotic resistances among bacteria and the World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed an international ban on the use of these antibiotics in animal feeds. Consequently, the reduction of Campylobacter spp. populations in the gastrointestinal tracts of chickens has been attempted by using viruses that infect and kill these bacteria. These viruses are termed bacteriophages. It was first formally proposed that bacteriophages could be used to combat bacterial infections during the early 1900’s since they were a natural form of resisting bacterial disease. This type of research has continued in Eastern Europe and now investigators in the rest of the world are attempting to reduce gastrointestinal food-borne, disease-causing bacteria by use of bacteriophages. Recently, the presence of bacteriophages among chickens has been investigated along with examining their presence among surveyed commercial poultry flocks relative to isolates of Campylobacter jejuni for use to reduce numbers of these bacteria.

Technical Abstract: The book chapter reports efforts to exploit Campylobacter-specific bacteriophages to reduce the numbers of Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli colonizing poultry and contaminating poultry meat products. Controlling campylobacters in poultry represents one of the greatest challenges to the agriculture and food industries if they are to achieve consumer and governmental demands to reduce human food-borne disease. The chapter reports investigations on the sustainable use of bacteriophages or their gene products in these industries, and have revealed some important aspects of Campylobacter ecology in response to phage infection. Studies reviewed have highlighted key differences between the biological outcomes of phage infection of Campylobacter in laboratory experiments compared with those occurring within the avian intestinal tract, which is the natural habitat of C. jejuni and C. coli. This review also documents the history, isolation, essential characteristics, types and sources of bacteriophages that infect Campylobacters.

Last Modified: 05/26/2017
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