To explore new approaches of phage-based bio-process of specifically pathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria in food products within a short period. One hundred and forty highly lytic designed coliphages were used. Escherichia coli naturally contaminated and Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli experimentally inoculated samples of lettuce, cabbage, meat, and egg were used. In addition, experimentally produced biofilms of E. coli were tested. A phage concentration of 10(3) PFU/ml was used for food products immersion, and for spraying of food products, 10(5) PFU/ml of a phage cocktail was used by applying a 20-s optimal dipping time in a phage cocktail. Food samples were cut into pieces and were either sprayed with or held in a bag immersed in lambda buffer containing a cocktail of 140 phages. Phage bio-processing was successful in eliminating completely E. coli in all processed samples after 48 h storage at 4°C. Partial elimination of E. coli was observed in earlier storage periods (7 and 18 h) at 24° and 37°C. Moreover, E. coli biofilms were reduced >3 log cycles upon using the current phage bio-processing. The use of a phage cocktail of 140 highly lytic designed phages proved highly effective in suppressing E. coli contaminating food products. Proper decontamination/prevention methods of pathogenic E. coli achieved in this study can replace the current chemically less effective decontamination methods.
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