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Characterization and gene-editing of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents of foodborne pathogens


The long-term goal of this project is to characterize and gene-edit bacteriophages so that they can be effectively used as biocontrol agents of foodborne pathogens. We plan to conduct a series of experiments with Salmonella and its bacteriophages to understand the "arms race" that exists between them. Specifically, we will investigate bacterial immunity to phage and the corresponding counter-measures employed by phage to overcome bacterial immunity systems. We will exploit this knowledge to genetically engineer enhanced bacteriophages that could be more effective in eliminating Salmonella from foods and food production environments.The specific objectives are:1) Identify and characterize Salmonella genes that confer immunity to a broad host-range lytic bacteriophage.2) Identify and characterize bacteriophages that possess genes that overcome bacterial phage immunity systems.3) Use genetic engineering approaches to construct broad host range bacteriophages that are resistant to Salmonella's phage defense systems and assess if they are more effective in eliminating the pathogen from foods.

Bowden, Steven
University of Minnesota
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