Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Isolation and Characterisation of Bacteriophages with Lytic Activity Against Virulent Escherichia coli O157:H7: Potential Bio-Control Agents

Version 1 : Received: 11 January 2019 / Approved: 14 January 2019 / Online: 14 January 2019 (11:18:57 CET)

How to cite: Ateba, C.N.; Akindolire, M.A. Isolation and Characterisation of Bacteriophages with Lytic Activity Against Virulent Escherichia coli O157:H7: Potential Bio-Control Agents. Preprints 2019, 2019010132 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201901.0132.v1). Ateba, C.N.; Akindolire, M.A. Isolation and Characterisation of Bacteriophages with Lytic Activity Against Virulent Escherichia coli O157:H7: Potential Bio-Control Agents. Preprints 2019, 2019010132 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201901.0132.v1).

Abstract

Bacteriophages can provide alternative measures for the control of E. coli O157:H7 that is currently an emerging food-borne pathogen of severe public health concern. This study was aimed at characterising E. coli O157:H7 specific phages as potential biocontrol agents for these pathogens. Fifteen phages were isolated and screened against 69 environmental E. coli O157:H7. Only 3 phages displayed broad lytic spectra against environmental shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 strains. These 3 lytic phages were designated V3, V7 and V8. Subsequent characterization indicated that they displayed very high degree of similarities despite isolation from different locations. Transmission Electron microscopy (TEM) of the phages revealed that they all had isometric heads of about 73 – 77 nm in diameter and short tails ranging from 20 - 25 nm in diameter. Phages V3, V7 and V8 were assigned to the family Podoviridae based on their morphology. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) genome estimation of the 3 phages demonstrated identical genome sizes of ~ 69 nm. The latent periods of these phages were 20 min, 15 min, and 20 min for V3, V7 and V8 respectively while the burst sizes were 374, 349 and 419 PFU/ infected cell respectively. While all the phages were relatively stable over a wide range of salinity, temperatures and pH values, their range of infectivity or lytic profile was rather narrow on environmental E. coli O157:H7 strains isolated from cattle faeces. This study showed that the Podoviridae bacteriophages are the dominant E. coli O57:H7-infecting phages harboured in cattle faeces in the North-West Province of South Africa and due to their favourable characteristics can be exploited in the formulation of phage cocktails for the bio-control of E. coli O157:H7 in meat and other meat products.

Subject Areas

Bacteriophages; Bio-control; E. coli O157:H7; Podoviridae; TEM, safety

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