Characterization of Campylobacter phages including analysis of host range by selected Campylobacter Penner serotypes

Vinni Hansen, Hanne Rosenquist, Dorte Lau Baggesen, Stanley Brown, Bjarke Bak Christensen

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Abstract

Background: The predominant food borne pathogen in the western world today is Campylobacter. Campylobacter specific bacteriophages (phages) have been proposed as an alternative agent for reducing the burden of Campylobacter in broilers. One concern in relation to phage biocontrol is the narrow host range often displayed by phages. To identify the potential of phages as a Campylobacter reducing agent we needed to determine their infectivity on a panel of isolates representing the Campylobacter strains found in broilers as well as humans. Results: In this study, Campylobacter phages were isolated from the intestines of broilers and ducks and from abattoir sewage. Twelve phages were investigated to determine their ability to infect the Campylobacter Penner serotypes commonly present in Danish poultry and patients with campylobacteriosis. A total of 89% of the Campylobacter jejuni strains and 14% of the Campylobacter coli strains could be infected by at least one of the bacteriophages. The majority of the phages infected the most common serotypes in Danish broilers (O:1,44; O:2; O:4-complex), but showed limited ability to infect 21 of the less frequent Campylobacter serotypes. Pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) were used to characterize the phage genomes. Three categories of bacteriophages were observed. I: a genome size of similar to 194 kb and refractory to digestion with HhaI; II: a genome size of similar to 140 kb and digestible by HhaI; and III: a genome size undeterminable in PFGE. The categorization of the phages correlated with the host range patterns displayed by the phages. Six phages were subjected to transmission electron microscopy (TEM). They all belonged to the family of Myoviridae. Conclusion: We have characterized and identified the host range of 12 Danish Campylobacter phages. Due to their ability to infect the majority of the common serotypes in Denmark we suggest the phages can become an effective agent in the effort to reduce the incidence of campylobacteriosis in Denmark. This study provides the basis for future experiments in Campylobacter phages and knowledge for the selection of Campylobacter phages for biocontrol in broilers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Microbiology
Volume7
Pages (from-to)90
ISSN1471-2180
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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