A bacteria-killing virus found in the feces of some sheep could help remove the dangerous foodborne bacteria Escherichia coli O157:H7 from livestock. Researchers from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington present their research today at the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
"Here we report a promising new natural way of reducing pathogen concentrations in livestock. This takes advantage of bacteriophages – bacteria-killing viruses, harmless to humans and other animals, which have been used extensively as antibiotics in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union for over 50 years," says Michael Dyen, one of the study researchers.
Dyen and his colleagues report on a new bacteriophage (CEV1) that they isolated from the feces of sheep naturally resistant to gut colonization by E. coli O157:H7. Preliminary trials of CEV1 in the lab have shown that it can be produced easily and can efficiently infect and kill the bacteria under proper conditions. In model systems reflecting the cow/sheep gut, CEV1 completely eliminated the bacteria in 11 days.
Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
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