This proposal aims to develop a new strategy to control necrotic enteritis in poultry using bacteriophage targeted towards C. perfringes. While the aetiology of necrotic enteritis remains uncertain it is generally accepted that the ultimate causative organism is C. perfringens. The events that lead up to infection, however, remain uncertain. Other factors and organsisms appear to play a role in establishing conditions that predispose the birds to the development of necrotic enteritis. For example, infection with Eimeria spp., (coccidiosis) predisposes poultry to the development of necrotic enteritis following changes in the pattern of infection of the gut with C.perfringens. This proposal focuses primilarily on the development and delivery of phage to lyse C. perfringes at the site of necrotic enteritis through either the feed or preferably drinking water. Unlike antibiotics, bacteriophage are able to target a single group of organisms without disruption to the rest of microflora. The ability to remove C. perfringens while leaving the rest of the gut flora intact will confirm if C. perfringens is the sole causative organism and may indicate if other oorganisms also play a role, which if so, amy also be targeted. Successful pahge therapy strategies will improve the health of birds in the poutry industry without recourse to antibiotics (of particular concern being those with analogues used in human medicine). And the appropriate and committed involvement of the commercial partner will ensure successful processess/products come to market and are avaliable to the poultry industry.
<OL> <LI> To isolate a range of pahe active against poultry strains of C. perfringens.
<LI> To characterise phage and slect those suitable for in vivo study in necrotic enteristis poultry models.
<LI> To determine phage growth kinetics and produce phage at pilot scale for formulation and evaluation in poultry.
<LI> To evaluate persistence of phage in the chicken gut to monitor the developemtn of an immune response.
<LI> To demonstrate control of C. perfringens in poultry using bacteriophage added as feed supplements or in water.
<LI> To demonstrate the control of necrotic enteritis using treatment with bacteriophage following the developemtn of coccidiosis.
<LI> To evaluate strategies to combat the development of phage resistant populations of C. perfringens.
<LI> To evaluate changes in microbial flora of the gut following infection with Eimeria maxima and bacteriophage to develop a better understanding of the aetiology of the disease.
<LI> To maintain an awareness of other organisms pre-disposing poultry to outbreaks of necrotic enteritis including a typical E. coli.