Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 560–566 | Cite as

Determination of the survival of bacteriophage M13 from chemical and physical challenges to assist in its sustainable bioprocessing

  • Steven D. Branston
  • Emma C. Stanley
  • John M. Ward
  • Eli Keshavarz-Moore
Research Paper


Bacteriophages are naturally infectious particles that replicate extremely efficiently in their bacterial hosts. Consequently, a facility processing bioproducts from a bacterial strain would be typically expected to focus on avoiding bacteriophage contamination. However, bacteriophages themselves are now showing great promise as a whole new class of industrial agents, such as biologically based nano-materials, delivery vectors and antimicrobials. This therefore raises a new challenge for their large-scale manufacture, potentially in contracted facilities shared with the host organism. The key issue is that knowledge of individual bacteriophage behaviour in the face of physical and chemical challenges is frequently incomplete, complicating decision-making regarding their safe introduction to a facility. This study tackles this issue for the filamentous bacteriophage M13. It was found that experimentation to determine an effective decontamination agent was important: Two of the three tested were ineffective. Virkon was considered to be the disinfectant of choice. Bacteriophage M13 was confirmed to be highly desiccation resistant, exhibiting a half-life of up to 120 days. Conversely, it was completely inactivated by strongly acidic and alkaline conditions and by temperatures above 95°C. By understanding the response of a bacteriophage to these challenges, steps towards their sustainable manufacture can be achieved.


filamentous bacteriophage M13 disinfectant pH temperature desiccation bioprocessing 


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Copyright information

© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven D. Branston
    • 1
  • Emma C. Stanley
    • 2
  • John M. Ward
    • 1
  • Eli Keshavarz-Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, Department of Biochemical EngineeringUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, Division of BiosciencesUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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