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PHAGEVET-P - Veterinary Phage Therapies as Alternatives to Antibiotics in Poultry Production

Investigators
Azeredo, Jana
Institutions
Universidade do Minho
Start date
2005
End date
2008
Objective
This project will focus on trials in live poultry to evaluate the importance of the following factors on safety and quality (WP6): phage choice and production (WPs 2, 4); route of administration and timing of administration (WP5); quantity of phages administered (WP5); modelling of the infection and curing process (WP3).

The project will also consider alternative strategies for potential constraints related with: development of phage-resistant strains of pathogens; mass application causing environmental concerns; destruction of phages by stomach acidity following oral administration.

More information
Antibiotics are currently being phased out of animal production but alternative methods are needed to combat bacterial diseases in food animals and to control transmission of pathogens responsible for food-borne illnesses to humans.

Potential alternatives a re few: Competitive Exclusion (CE) and Bacteriophage (phage) Therapy represent two of the most promising alternatives. Whilst there is one approved CE product on the market, commercial use is limited due to very high costs of production, highly restricted means of administration, and reduced efficacy. Phages are very specific in killing a limited range of bacterial strains, cf. antibiotics, and do not cause infections of animals or plants. Replication of a lytic phage results in lysis and killing of the host bacterium, increasing phage numbers considerably. Research has identified phages, which kill Salmonella, Campylobacter, and other pathogenic bacteria, and established rapid, simple methods for amplification of phages to very large numbers. Recent work has shown phages to be effective in removing contamination from poultry carcasses, and also in killing pathogens in the intestinal tract of live poultry and in eggs. Using this phenomenon to protect or cure infected animals is the focus of ongoing investigations.

For more information about this project, please visit the European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe or the PHAGEVET-P Web sites.

Funding Source
European Commission
Project number
007224
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Salmonella
Campylobacter