Bacteriophages as biocontrol agents for foodborne diseases
Fajar Farooq, Umer Ali, Shabu Shoukat, Adil Rasool Paray, Mudasir Ali Rather and Umar Rasool Parry
Bacteriophages (phages) discovered during the early 20th century can find a novel use as an effective approach for the control of foodborne bacterial pathogens. Phages are natural enemies of bacteria, infect and multiply within their specific host bacterial species and are stable under varied pH and temperature conditions. Various types of phage treatments have been used to reduce contamination of foods with foodborne bacterial pathogens, facilitating pre-harvest and post-harvest control of foodborne pathogens and also the decontamination of inanimate surfaces in food-processing facilities and other food establishments. Several companies have developed phage based products for their applications in food safety that have been approved by FDA, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other such agencies, for their usage in food/feed additives. Phage therapy in biocontrol of food borne pathogens is proving to be beneficial for food safety and public health. However, further studies are required to explore the emergence of phage resistant mutants, concentration and mode of phage application to pave way for phage biocontrol protocols to become an integral part of routine food safety intervention strategies that food industries can follow.