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Bacteriophage Utilization in Animal Hygiene

Abstract

Each year approximately 48 million people become ill from foodborne illnesses. Bacterial contamination of foods, including produce, dairy, and animal-derived products, are a major health concern costing upwards of $43 billion (USD), also per year. Many of the most common foodborne pathogenic bacteria can be isolated from the gastrointestinal tract of poultry, swine, and cattle. Pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) often do not cause illness in the animal, and colonization is not easily detected in otherwise healthy animals. As concerns surrounding antibiotic resistance have increased, the livestock and poultry industries have sought to reduce antibiotic usage and utilize alternative means to reduce bacterial contamination of food. Bacteriophages are viruses that prey solely upon bacteria, including EHEC and Salmonella. Phages can be utilized in all stages of animal production to improve both animal hygiene and food safety, from the farm to the fork. Efforts, for example, are underway to design specific hide sprays that will kill pathogens before they can be carried into the abattoir. Although there have been great strides in developing phage as a preharvest pathogen reduction strategy, further research is necessary, along with an educational outreach to producers and consumers alike about the benefits of phage usage relative to antibiotics as a tool in the arsenal to improve food safety.

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Klopatek, S., Callaway, T.R., Wickersham, T., Sheridan, T.G., Nisbet, D.J. (2018). Bacteriophage Utilization in Animal Hygiene. In: Harper, D., Abedon, S., Burrowes, B., McConville, M. (eds) Bacteriophages. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40598-8_30-1

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