people worldwide buy and consume a diversity of products of animal and plant
origin expecting these products to be safe. However, the current technologies
employed to inactivate bacterial pathogens in foods are not infallible.
Annually, millions of people become ill, are hospitalized, and die due to a
variety of food borne pathogens, such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Listeria, transmitted through
foods. The most e?cient means for limiting the growth of microbes are good
production hygiene, a rational running of the process line, and a well-designed
use of biocides and disinfectants. Regardless of modern technologies, good
manufacturing practices, quality control and hygiene contaminating bacteria
still can get access to food during slaughtering, milking, fermentation,
processing, storage or packaging. Moreover, the extensive use of sanitizers and
antibiotics has led to the development of resistant bacteria rendering these
procedures less effective. Thus, to meet the primary goal of any food safety
program, the consumer protection, new food preservation techniques have to be
continually developed to meet current demands, in order to control the emerging
pathogens and their impact at global scale (1).
on phage molecular biology has fuelled multiple biotechnological applications in very diverse
fields including bacterial detection systems, novel antimicrobials against
antibiotic-resistant bacteria, etc. Another promising field of application is
the use of phages as natural antimicrobials in food to inhibit undesirable
A bacteriophage is a virus that infects and replicates within a bacterium. Bacteriophages are
composed of proteins that encapsulate a DNA or RNA genome. Phages replicate within the bacterium following the injection
of their genome into its cytoplasm. To enter a host
cell, bacteriophages attach to specific receptors on the surface of bacteria.
This specificity means a bacteriophage can infect only certain bacteria bearing
receptors to which they can bind, which in turn determines the phage’s host
range. After making contact with the appropriate receptor, phage injects
genetic material through the bacterial membrane. The host’s normal synthesis of
proteins and nucleic acids is disrupted, and it is forced to manufacture viral
products instead. These products go on to become part of new virions within the
cell, helper proteins that help assemble the new virions, or proteins involved
in cell lysis. Phages may be
released via cell lysis achieved by an enzyme called endolysin, which attacks and
breaks down the cell wall peptidoglycan (3).
Bacteriophages are ubiquitous viruses, found wherever
bacteria exist (soil, drinkable or sea water, even the intestines of animals). The
most outstanding advantage of phages is their harmless interaction to
eukaryotic cells (human, animal, plants).