Potential Applications of Bacteriophages in Livestock and Poultry Production in the Post-antibiotic Era

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 4849

Special Issue Editors

College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
Interests: bacteriophage; virome; metagenomics; rumen microbes; alternatives for antibiotics; phage therapy; ruminants
College of Animal Science, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Interests: gut bacteriophage; coliphage; gut virome; phage therapy; gut nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bacteriophages, which specifically target and infect bacteria, are important components in the gut ecosystems of livestock. Gut microbes, including bacteria, archaea, protozoa, and fungi, have been vastly investigated, whereas gut bacteriophages have mostly been under-investigated. However, bacteriophages have been gaining more attention due to their biotechnological potential and possible effects on animal health and production, especially their potential to treat diseases caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics, which have been widely used as growth promoters in livestock and poultry farming practices, are now under increased scrutiny because of the increasing risk of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens and potential antibiotic residue accumulation in animal products. Bacteriophages have many advantages over conventional and newly developed antibiotic alternatives, including specificity, safety, effectiveness against multidrug-resistant bacteria, easy genetic modification, and their ability to limit the rise in antibiotic resistance. Therefore, bacteriophages have great application potential in improving growth efficiency and food safety in livestock and poultry production in the post-antibiotic era.

This Special Issue aims to create a collection of scientific reports that help us to understand the potential application of bacteriophages in livestock and poultry production in the post-antibiotic era.

We invite original articles and extensive reviews in the areas of the gut bacteriophage diversity and function analysis of farm animals, bacteriophage isolation and characterization, bacteriophage-based therapeutic manipulations, bacteriophages as alternatives to antibiotics in promoting growth in farm animals, bacteriophages in farm environment purification, and bacteriophage utilization in the food safety of animal products.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Tao Ran
Dr. Yan Lin
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • bacteriophage
  • gut virome
  • phage isolation
  • phage therapy
  • alternatives to antibiotics
  • farm animals

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 4176 KiB  
Article
Systemic Effects of a Phage Cocktail on Healthy Weaned Piglets
by Yankun Liu, Yan Lin and Weiyun Zhu
Biology 2024, 13(4), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13040271 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 231
Abstract
Numerous studies have demonstrated that bacteriophages (phages) can effectively treat intestinal bacterial infections. However, research on the impact of phages on overall body health once they enter the intestine is limited. This study utilized weaned piglets as subjects to evaluate the systemic effects [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that bacteriophages (phages) can effectively treat intestinal bacterial infections. However, research on the impact of phages on overall body health once they enter the intestine is limited. This study utilized weaned piglets as subjects to evaluate the systemic effects of an orally administered phage cocktail on their health. Twelve 21-day-old weaned piglets were divided into control (CON) and phage gavage (Phages) groups. The phage cocktail consisted of five lytic phages, targeting Salmonella enterica serovar Choleraesuis (S. choleraesuis), Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), and Shiga tox-in-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). The phages group received 10 mL of phage cocktail orally for 20 consecutive days. The results show that the phage gavage did not affect the piglets’ growth performance, serum biochemical indices, or most organ indices, except for the pancreas. However, the impact on the intestine was complex. Firstly, although the pancreatic index decreased, it did not affect the secretion of digestive enzymes in the intestine. Secondly, phages increased the pH of jejunum chyme and relative weight of the ileum, and enhanced intestinal barrier function without affecting the morphology of the intestine. Thirdly, phages did not proliferate in the intestine, but altered the intestinal microbiota structure and increased concentrations of microbial metabolites isobutyric acid and isovaleric acid in the colonic chyme. In addition, phages impacted the immune status, significantly increasing serum IgA, IgG, and IgM, as well as serum and intestinal mucosal IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-17, and TGF-β, and decreasing IL-4 and IL-10. They also activated toll-like receptors TLR-4 and TLR-9. Apart from an increase in basophil numbers, the counts of other immune cells in the blood did not change. This study indicates that the impact of phages on body health is complex, especially regarding immune status, warranting further attention. Short-term phage gavage did not have significant negative effects on health but could enhance intestinal barrier function. Full article
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Review

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19 pages, 1075 KiB  
Review
Prospects and Challenges of Bacteriophage Substitution for Antibiotics in Livestock and Poultry Production
by Aoyu Jiang, Zixin Liu, Xiaokang Lv, Chuanshe Zhou, Tao Ran and Zhiliang Tan
Biology 2024, 13(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13010028 - 04 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1861
Abstract
The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the livestock and poultry industry has led to the development of multi-drug resistance in animal pathogens, and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in bacteria transfer from animals to humans through the consumption of animal products, posing a [...] Read more.
The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the livestock and poultry industry has led to the development of multi-drug resistance in animal pathogens, and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in bacteria transfer from animals to humans through the consumption of animal products, posing a serious threat to human health. Therefore, the use of antibiotics in livestock production has been strictly controlled. As a result, bacteriophages have attracted increasing research interest as antibiotic alternatives, since they are natural invaders of bacteria. Numerous studies have shown that dietary bacteriophage supplementation could regulate intestinal microbial composition, enhance mucosal immunity and the physical barrier function of the intestinal tract, and play an important role in maintaining intestinal microecological stability and normal body development of animals. The effect of bacteriophages used in animals is influenced by factors such as species, dose, and duration. However, as a category of mobile genetic elements, the high frequency of gene exchange of bacteriophages also poses risks of transmitting ARGs among bacteria. Hence, we summarized the mechanism and efficacy of bacteriophage therapy, and highlighted the feasibility and challenges of bacteriophage utilization in farm animal production, aiming to provide a reference for the safe and effective application of bacteriophages as an antibiotic alternative in livestock and poultry. Full article
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13 pages, 1923 KiB  
Review
The Post-Antibiotic Era: A New Dawn for Bacteriophages
by Youshun Jin, Wei Li, Huaiyu Zhang, Xuli Ba, Zhaocai Li and Jizhang Zhou
Biology 2023, 12(5), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12050681 - 04 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2029
Abstract
Phages are the most biologically diverse entities in the biosphere, infecting specific bacteria. Lytic phages quickly kill bacteria, while lysogenic phages integrate their genomes into bacteria and reproduce within the bacteria, participating in the evolution of natural populations. Thus, lytic phages are used [...] Read more.
Phages are the most biologically diverse entities in the biosphere, infecting specific bacteria. Lytic phages quickly kill bacteria, while lysogenic phages integrate their genomes into bacteria and reproduce within the bacteria, participating in the evolution of natural populations. Thus, lytic phages are used to treat bacterial infections. However, due to the huge virus invasion, bacteria have also evolved a special immune mechanism (CRISPR-Cas systems, discovered in 1987). Therefore, it is necessary to develop phage cocktails and synthetic biology methods to infect bacteria, especially against multidrug-resistant bacteria infections, which are a major global threat. This review outlines the discovery and classification of phages and the associated achievements in the past century. The main applications of phages, including synthetic biology and PT, are also discussed, in addition to the effects of PT on immunity, intestinal microbes, and potential safety concerns. In the future, combining bioinformatics, synthetic biology, and classic phage research will be the way to deepen our understanding of phages. Overall, whether phages are an important element of the ecosystem or a carrier that mediates synthetic biology, they will greatly promote the progress of human society. Full article
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