lunes, 21 de noviembre de 2011

Researchers use phage to create a new paper- based packaging method to control enteric pathogens.

Specific immobilized phages can take over the Listeria and/or E. coli O157:H7

The recent Listeria and E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks associated with cantaloupe and raw beef in North America reveals that the current available methods and procedures for food safety are lacking to achieve full control of these deadly pathogens. New packaging approaches, by Canadian researchers from the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network, for improving food safety are ongoing and offer unique solutions for biocontrol by using immobilized phage.

To prevent these food-borne tragedies from happening in the future, researchers are using harmless viruses called phage to kill targeted pathogens (including Listeria and E. coli) that could be present on the surface of foods. A phage, in simple terms, is a harmless virus that can kill bacteria. Phage use has received regulatory FDA approval in the United States as a safe food additive in certain food products, along with Health Canada issuing a letter stating no objection for the use of phage. An immobilized phage can take over the Listeria and/or E. coli O157:H7 bacterial cell and produce new copies of itself inside the cell. After the phage reaches critical levels, the phage breaks open the bacterial cell and destroys it, thus not allowing the pathogen to multiply on a food surface.

Sentinel researchers published work in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology describes their method to stick phage onto cellulose material and explains when foods (ready to eat meats, raw meats) are wrapped in the package the harmful cells of Listeria and E. coli are killed by phage that have been placed on the packaging. This packaging option works at refrigeration temperatures, at which pathogens can still grow. The packaging solution can be used for modified atmosphere and vacuum packaged meats. This is one of several technologies being investigated by the Sentinel Network, a NSERC strategic network that can help to make food-borne illness a thing of the past.

Source:Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Aporte: Fernando Fuentes Pinochet

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