About this Research Topic
Contamination of food with pathogenic bacteria can lead to severe disease and even death and therefore generates a massive financial burden to the global economy. Hence, efforts in developing new food preservation techniques are continuously made in order to meet consumer protection.
The use of bacteriophages for pathogen biocontrol and pathogen detection in foods has risen in recent years. Bacteriophages are viruses that can infect and lyse only bacterial cells, being harmless to humans, animals and plants. They are abundant in the environment and have been found in a wide variety of raw products, thus suggesting their daily unconscious consumption through our food and water. Phages have high specificity to target their host leaving the natural microbiota undisturbed and are self-replicating and self-limiting, implying that they will multiply as long as there is a host.
However, the use of bacteriophages as biocontrol tool does have its drawbacks and weaknesses. For example, the narrow host range can limit the efficacy of the phage preparation and the use of temperate phages could promote the transfer of undesirable genes (e.g. virulence genes, antibiotic-resistance encoding genes) among bacterial strains, leading to the emergence of new pathogenic strains. To date, most of the studies has been devoted to “phage therapy” applications, were phage preparation were intramuscular injected or orally administered to the animal (cattle, poultry, sheep).
The scope of this Research Topic is to collect the latest studies on the positive role of bacteriophages from disinfection of equipment and contact surfaces (biosanitation) to treatment of raw products and RTE foods (biocontrol).
Keywords: Food safety, Bacteriophages, Foodborne diseases, Biocontrol, Bio-preservation