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Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
Year: 2015  |  Volume: 10  |  Issue: 11  |  Page No.: 708 - 723

Lytic Bacteriophages as Biocontrol Agents of Foodborne Pathogens

Neha Bhardwaj, Sanjeev K. Bhardwaj, Akash Deep, Swati Dahiya and Sanjay Kapoor    

Abstract: The present review focuses on applications of bacteriophages (also called ‘Phages’) in biocontrol of foodborne pathogens. Food borne diseases caused by bacterial pathogens are a threat to the human health and national economy. Further, there is an increase in multidrug resistance among bacterial pathogens and the conventional methods of food safety, generally involve use of chemicals having certain toxicity issues. The bacteriophages in contrast are natural enemies of bacteria and have regained their popularity as a natural biocontrol agent of bacterial pathogens. The bacteriophages are viruses that kill bacteria and are the most ubiquitous (total number estimated to be 1030-1032) known organisms on earth. These are part of the normal microflora of all fresh and unprocessed foods and play a key role in maintaining microbial balance in every ecosystem where bacteria exist. Recently, there is a gaining interest among researchers regarding practical applications of bacteriophages to improve food safety. Many bacteriophage based preparations have been approved by regulatory authorities for their usage in food safety as food additives and disinfectants. Mainly, the application of phages for biocontrol of food pathogens are classified into three categories: (1) Pre-harvest control of foodborne pathogens in food producing livestock and poultry, (2) Decontamination of inanimate surfaces in food-processing facilities and other food establishments and (3) Post-harvest control of foodborne pathogens by direct applications of phages onto the harvested/processed foods. Commercially available phage products being marketed by several companies for reducing the presence of foodborne pathogenic bacteria in food and food production environment have been described and reviewed here.

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