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The Influences and Therapeutic use of Bacteriophage Against Campylobacter Entering the Human Food Chain

University of Nottingham and University of Bristol
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The research aims to investigate and predict fluctuations in the populations of campylobacter-associated bacteriophages and their bacterial prey through a combination of theoretical and experimental methods.

The aim is to be able to harness the potential of bacteriophages to control the populations of campylobacter within poultry at the time of slaughter.

This research project will examine the populations of naturally occurring bacteriophages and how these influence the number of campylobacter entering the human food chain from poultry.

Approaches and research plan are as follows:

  • to determine individual-level parameters and population-level phenomena of the in vitro dynamics of bacteriophage and campylobacter populations
  • to develop pharmacokinetic models appropriate to phage-bacteria interactions in the gut.
  • to investigate the impact of phage-treatment strategies on the carriage and shedding of campylobacter genotypes from colonised chickens
  • to develop and test predictive models of phage therapy in contexts where campylobacter-specific bacteriophages are used as control measures against the sources of infection in broiler houses
  • to understand the epidemiology of phage with respect to observed molecular changes in the host DNA and correlate these with the genotypes of environmental isolates
  • to describe the evolution of phage and bacteria post phage therapy using mathematical models, and from those models to predict optimal treatment protocols that minimise evolution of resistant bacteria.
More information
This is a BBSRC/FSA research project funded under the Government Partnership Award scheme.

Interventions through the use of bacteriophages would constitute a minimally invasive natural element of biological control that is consistent with the principles of organic production.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
B15012 & B15013
Prevention and Control
Predictive Microbiology
Meat, Poultry, Game