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Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157 bacteriophages by using a mixture of ferrous sulfate and tea extract.

Liu, H., Meng, R., Wang, J., Niu, Y.D., Li, J.-Q., Stanford, K.I.M., and McAllister, T.A. (2015). "Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157 bacteriophages by using a mixture of ferrous sulfate and tea extract.", Journal of Food Protection, 78(12), pp. 2220-2226. doi : 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-239  Access to full text


Bacteriophages (phages) have been used for biocontrol of Escherichia coli O157 and other pathogenic bacteria in many different matrices and foods, but few studies have included inactivation of residual phages in culture medium before plating and enumeration of surviving host bacteria for the assessment of phage efficacy. This oversight may lead to overestimation of phage efficacy. The ability of virucidal solution containing a mixture of ferrous sulfate [iron(II) sulfate, FeSO4] and tea extract [Fe(II)T] to inactivate residual T5-like, T1-like, T4-like, and rV5-like phages was assessed using E. coli O157 as the host. At concentrations of ≥10 mM FeSO4, all phages were not detected after 20 min in a broth culture model. Compared with the virucidal solution–free samples (1 to 96% recovery), Fe(II)T (10 mM FeSO4 plus 15% tea extract) recovered a greater (P < 0.01) number of E. coli O157 from phage-treated broth culture (97 to 100% recovery) and beef samples (52 to 100% recovery). Moreover, with the addition of Fe(II)T, the number of bacteria surviving after exposure to T5-like or T4-like phages was greater (P < 0.01) than that after exposure to T1-like or rV5-like phages. Consequently, use of a virucide for phage inactivation is recommended to improve the accuracy of evaluations of phage efficacy for biocontrol of E. coli O157.

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