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Phage therapy to reduce preprocessing Salmonella infections in market-weight swine

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Contamination of meat products with food-borne pathogens usually results from the carcass coming in contact with the feces of an infected animal during processing. In the case of Salmonella, pigs can become colonized with the organism during transport and lairage from contaminated trailers and holding pens, resulting in increased pathogen shedding just prior to processing. Increased shedding, in turn, amplifies the likelihood of carcass contamination by magnifying the amount of bacteria that enters the processing facility. We conducted a series of experiments to test whether phage therapy could limit Salmonella infections at this crucial period. In a preliminary experiment done with small pigs (3 to 4 weeks old; 30 to 40 lb), administration of an anti-Salmonella phage cocktail at the time of inoculation with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium reduced Salmonella colonization by 99.0 to 99.9% (2- to 3-log reduction) in the tonsils, ileum, and cecum. To test the efficacy of phage therapy in a production-like setting, we inoculated four market-weight pigs (in three replicates) with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and allowed the challenged pigs to contaminate a holding pen for 48 h. Sixteen naive pigs were randomly split into two groups which received either the anti-Salmonella phage cocktail or a mock treatment. Both groups of pigs were comingled with the challenged pigs in the contaminated pen. Treatment with the anti-Salmonella phage cocktail significantly reduced cecal Salmonella concentrations (95%; P < 0.05) while also reducing (numerically) ileal Salmonella concentrations (90%; P = 0.06). Additional in vitro studies showed that the phage cocktail was also lytic against several non-Typhimurium serovars.
Smantha K. Wall , Jiayi Zhang , Marcos H. Rostagno , Paul D. Ebner
USDA Scientist Submission
Applied and environmental microbiology 2010 v.76 no.1
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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