Bacteriophages to Limit Campylobacter in Poultry Production
It may surprise you, but in our bodies and in nature there is a microscopic army that is constantly at war – viruses that attack bacteria. Bacteriophages or phages are viruses that specifically attack and eliminate bacteria. This makes them a potential tool for controlling harmful bacterial populations in our food supply.
Campylobacter is one of the most commonly reported foodborne pathogens in the United States. Each year, more than one million cases are associated with its presence in poultry products.
As demand for antibiotic-free meat increases, researchers are turning to alternative control measures such as bacteriophages to combat this bacterial threat. In fact, Campylobacter phages have already been isolated from both conventional and organic poultry farms.
These phages can be cultivated and used as targeted measures to reduce the incidence of Campylobacter and ultimately improve food safety for consumers.
The authors Elena G Olson, Andrew C Micciche, Michael J Rothrock Jr, Yichao Yang, and Steven C Ricke discuss this further in their article Application of Bacteriophages to Limit Campylobacter in Poultry Production, dated 5 January 2022.
- Campylobacter is a major foodborne pathogen typically acquired through the consumption of poultry. There are over one million cases in the U.S. each year.
- The frequent occurrence of Campylobacter in the gastrointestinal tract of poultry continues to be a challenge for optimizing intervention strategies.
- Increasing demand for antibiotic-free products has led to the development of several alternative control measures, including bacteriophages administered to reduce foodborne pathogens.
- Campylobacter phages have been isolated from both conventionally and organically raised poultry and used as an intervention in live birds to control colonized Campylobacter in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Application of Campylobacter phages to poultry carcasses has also been explored as a strategy to reduce Campylobacter contamination during poultry processing.
Campylobacter is a major foodborne pathogen with over a million United States cases a year and is typically acquired through the consumption of poultry products.
The common occurrence of Campylobacter as a member of the poultry gastrointestinal tract microbial community remains a challenge for optimizing intervention strategies.
Simultaneously, increasing demand for antibiotic-free products has led to the development of several alternative control measures both at the farm and in processing operations.
Bacteriophages administered to reduce foodborne pathogens are one of the alternatives that have received renewed interest.
Campylobacter phages have been isolated from both conventionally and organically raised poultry. Isolated and cultivated Campylobacter bacteriophages have been used as an intervention in live birds to target colonized Campylobacter in the gastrointestinal tract. Application of Campylobacter phages to poultry carcasses has also been explored as a strategy to reduce Campylobacter levels during poultry processing.
This review will focus on the biology and ecology of Campylobacter bacteriophages in poultry production followed by discussion on current and potential applications as an intervention strategy to reduce Campylobacter occurrence in poultry production.
Keywords: Campylobacter; bacteriophage; post-harvest; poultry; pre-harvest.
Copyright © 2022 Olson, Micciche, Rothrock, Yang and Ricke.