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Potential to use ultraviolet-treated bacteriophages to control foodborne pathogens

Abstract

The use of replication-deficient UV-treated bacteriophages, or phages, presents an alternative to viable phages for food biocontrol applications. Nontransducing UV-treated phages, if used correctly, are unlikely to produce viable progeny phages, which might otherwise mediate undesirable horizontal gene transfer events. Phage T4 and Escherichia coli were used as a model system to examine this possibility. UV-treated phages were able to cause a reduction in the optical density of outer membrane-free cell suspensions and they also killed host cells under conditions not permitting their multiplication, that is, 24 degrees C for 2 h and 37 degrees C for 15 min. Host cell reductions were also demonstrated in broth and on meat at 5 degrees C when high concentrations of phages of 2.3 x 10(9) PFU mL(-1) and 1.8 x 10(8) PFU cm(-2), respectively, were used. At 24 degrees C and 37 degrees C, "lysis from without" was likely to be the mechanism responsible for the reduction in host cell concentrations, but at 5 degrees C this may not have been the case.

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