Special Issue "Bacteriophages in Food Applications"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mansel Griffiths
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
Interests: food safety; food borne microorganisms detection; bioluminescence; bacteriophage; microbial physiology; microbial food ecology
Dr. Hany Anany
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph Research and Development Center, Guelph, Canada
Interests: development of novel bacteriophage-based techniques to detect and control various bacterial food borne pathogens to enhance food safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent years have witnessed disturbing numbers of food recalls and foodborne outbreaks associated with an increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens worldwide. Hence, there is an ongoing interest in developing novel approaches to be implemented with or to replace the existing protocols to control foodborne pathogens. In this context, the use of bacteriophages (phages) is considered a promising green technology to enhance food safety and quality. The specificity of the interactions of phages with their host cells can be exploited to detect and control various foodborne pathogenic and spoilage bacteria without affecting the viability of the other microorganisms in the habitat.

Furthermore, phage applications as sanitizing agents to degrade biofilm in food processing environments have been explored by various research groups. The application of whole phage particles or their encoded enzymes such as depolymerases and endolysin and their engineered derivatives can be envisioned throughout the food production and processing chain. In addition to spraying and dipping approaches, phage immobilization represents an innovative delivery approach to broaden phage application. Phage-based biosensors can also be used as rapid, sensitive, and specific diagnostic tools for the food industry to mitigate the risk of contaminated food products. The food phageome has emerged as a novel research area that is filling the knowledge gap of phage ecology and host interactions in food production and processing environments. This information is helping us to understand how foodborne pathogens proliferate and spread in these environments.

For this Special Issue, we invite authors to submit original and unpublished research papers and critical review articles covering different research topics related to phage applications to enhance food safety and quality. This may include phage-based biocontrol solutions, phage-based biosensors, phage–host interactions and ecology in food production and processing environments, use of phage-derived products to control and detect foodborne pathogens, and phage delivery.

Prof. Mansel Griffiths
Dr. Hany Anany
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bacteriophages
  • biocontrol
  • biosensors
  • food safety
  • foodbone bacterial pathogens

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
PHIDA: A High Throughput Turbidimetric Data Analytic Tool to Compare Host Range Profiles of Bacteriophages Isolated Using Different Enrichment Methods
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2120; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112120 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1161
Abstract
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria and are present in niches where bacteria thrive. In recent years, the suggested application areas of lytic bacteriophage have been expanded to include therapy, biocontrol, detection, sanitation, and remediation. However, phage application is constrained by the phage’s [...] Read more.
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria and are present in niches where bacteria thrive. In recent years, the suggested application areas of lytic bacteriophage have been expanded to include therapy, biocontrol, detection, sanitation, and remediation. However, phage application is constrained by the phage’s host range—the range of bacterial hosts sensitive to the phage and the degree of infection. Even though phage isolation and enrichment techniques are straightforward protocols, the correlation between the enrichment technique and host range profile has not been evaluated. Agar-based methods such as spotting assay and efficiency of plaquing (EOP) are the most used methods to determine the phage host range. These methods, aside from being labor intensive, can lead to subjective and incomplete results as they rely on qualitative observations of the lysis/plaques, do not reflect the lytic activity in liquid culture, and can overestimate the host range. In this study, phages against three bacterial genera were isolated using three different enrichment methods. Host range profiles of the isolated phages were quantitatively determined using a high throughput turbidimetric protocol and the data were analyzed with an accessible analytic tool “PHIDA”. Using this tool, the host ranges of 9 Listeria, 14 Salmonella, and 20 Pseudomonas phages isolated with different enrichment methods were quantitatively compared. A high variability in the host range index (HRi) ranging from 0.86–0.63, 0.07–0.24, and 0.00–0.67 for Listeria, Salmonella, and Pseudomonas phages, respectively, was observed. Overall, no direct correlation was found between the phage host range breadth and the enrichment method in any of the three target bacterial genera. The high throughput method and analytics tool developed in this study can be easily adapted to any phage study and can provide a consensus for phage host range determination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophages in Food Applications)
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Article
Characterization and Application of a Lytic Phage D10 against Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081626 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Salmonella is a widely distributed foodborne pathogen that is a serious threat to human health. The accelerated development of drug resistance and the increased demand for natural foods invoke new biocontrol agents to limit contamination by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella strains. In this study, [...] Read more.
Salmonella is a widely distributed foodborne pathogen that is a serious threat to human health. The accelerated development of drug resistance and the increased demand for natural foods invoke new biocontrol agents to limit contamination by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella strains. In this study, a lytic Salmonella phage named D10 was characterized at the biological and genomic levels. D10 possesses a short latent period (10 min) and a large burst size (163 PFU/cell), as well as adequate stability under a range of pH conditions and moderate thermal tolerance. D10 effectively lysed different MDR Salmonella serovars and repressed their dynamic growth in the medium. Genomic analysis disclosed that D10 is a new member of the Siphoviridae family and lacks the genes implicated in lysogeny, pathogenicity, or antibiotic resistance. A three-ingredient phage cocktail was then developed by mixing D10 with previously identified myovirus D1-2 and podovirus Pu20. The cocktail significantly reduced the count of MDR strains in liquid eggs, regardless of the temperature applied (4 and 25 °C). These results suggest that phage D10 is a promising tool to prevent food contamination by MDR Salmonella. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophages in Food Applications)
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Article
Characterization and Food Application of the Novel Lytic Phage BECP10: Specifically Recognizes the O-polysaccharide of Escherichia coli O157:H7
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081469 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a global concern that causes serious diseases, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome and bloody diarrhea. To control E. coli O157:H7 in food, a novel siphophage, BECP10, that targets the O157 serotype was isolated and characterized. Unlike other E. coli [...] Read more.
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a global concern that causes serious diseases, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome and bloody diarrhea. To control E. coli O157:H7 in food, a novel siphophage, BECP10, that targets the O157 serotype was isolated and characterized. Unlike other E. coli phages, BECP10 can only infect E. coli O157 strains, and thus, did not infect other strains. The 48 kbp genome of BECP10 contained 76 open reading frames (ORFs), including 33 putative functional ORFs. The phage did not contain lysogeny-related modules or toxin-associated genes, suggesting that the phage might be strictly lytic. The tail spike protein (TSP) sequence had very low homology with the reported T1-like phages, indicating that TSP might be related to this unique host spectrum. The specific O-antigen residue of E. coli O157:H7 may be a key factor for phage infection by adsorption and receptor identification. The phage exhibited strong antibacterial activity against E. coli O157:H7 over a broad pH range and showed little development of phage-insensitive mutants. The phage sustained viability on the burger patties and reduced E. coli O157:H7 to a non-detectable level without the emergence of resistant cells at low temperatures for five days. Therefore, phage BECP10 might be a good biocontrol agent for E. coli O157:H7-contaminated food matrices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophages in Food Applications)
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Article
Bacteriophage Therapy to Reduce Colonization of Campylobacter jejuni in Broiler Chickens before Slaughter
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1428; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081428 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 781
Abstract
Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported gastrointestinal disease in humans. Campybacter jejuni is the main cause of the infection, and bacterial colonization in broiler chickens is widespread and difficult to prevent, leading to high risk of occurrence in broiler meat. Phage therapy represents [...] Read more.
Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported gastrointestinal disease in humans. Campybacter jejuni is the main cause of the infection, and bacterial colonization in broiler chickens is widespread and difficult to prevent, leading to high risk of occurrence in broiler meat. Phage therapy represents an alternative strategy to control Campylobacter in poultry. The aim of this work was to assess the efficacy of two field-isolated bacteriophages against experimental infections with an anti-microbial resistant (AMR) Campylobacter jejuni strain. A two-step phage application was tested according to a specific combination between chickens’ rearing time and specific multiplicities of infections (MOIs), in order to reduce the Campylobacter load in the animals at slaughtering and to limit the development of phage-resistant mutants. In particular, 75 broilers were divided into three groups (A, B and C), and phages were administered to animals of groups B and C at day 38 (Φ 16-izsam) and 39 (Φ 7-izsam) at MOI 0.1 (group B) and 1 (group C). All broilers were euthanized at day 40, and Campylobacter jejuni was enumerated in cecal contents. Reductions in Campylobacter counts were statistically significant in both group B (1 log10 colony forming units (cfu)/gram (gr)) and group C (2 log10 cfu/gr), compared to the control group. Our findings provide evidence about the ability of phage therapy to reduce the Campylobacter load in poultry before slaughtering, also associated with anti-microbial resistance pattern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophages in Food Applications)
Article
Characterization of a Novel Group of Listeria Phages That Target Serotype 4b Listeria monocytogenes
Viruses 2021, 13(4), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13040671 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 652
Abstract
Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b strains are the most prevalent clinical isolates and are widely found in food processing environments. Bacteriophages are natural viral predators of bacteria and are a promising biocontrol agent for L. monocytogenes. The aims of this study were to [...] Read more.
Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b strains are the most prevalent clinical isolates and are widely found in food processing environments. Bacteriophages are natural viral predators of bacteria and are a promising biocontrol agent for L. monocytogenes. The aims of this study were to characterize phages that specifically infect serotype 4b strains and to assess their ability to inhibit the growth of serotype 4b strains. Out of 120 wild Listeria phages, nine phages were selected based on their strong lytic activity against the model serotype 4b strain F2365. These nine phages can be divided into two groups based on their morphological characteristics and host range. Comparison to previously characterized phage genomes revealed one of these groups qualifies to be defined as a novel species. Phages LP-020, LP-027, and LP-094 were selected as representatives of these two groups of phages for further characterization through one-step growth curve and inhibition of serotype 4b L. monocytogenes experiments. Listeria phages that target serotype 4b showed an inhibitory effect on the growth of F2365 and other serotype 4 strains and may be useful for biocontrol of L.monocytogenes in food processing environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophages in Food Applications)
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