Kill food pathogens in the gut without antibiotics

You have food poisoning, if you take a broad spectrum antibiotic you will kill off the pathogen but at the same time you will devastate the rest of the microflora in your gut.

However, an alternative approach may be coming available. At the University of Copenhagen researchers used bacteriophages to target and kill single bacterial species without causing harm to the surrounding community of commensal bacteria.

Working with a collection of different serotypes of Escherichia coli in a simulated small intestinal microbiome, researchers added bacteriophages and found that in combination three bacteriophages killed most of the tested strains while leaving the other gut bacteria basically unaffected.

It is early days bearing in mind that the testing occurred in a model of the small intestine. The next step will be to test the study on mice and later on humans if such treatment is ever to be implemented.

“The research shows that we have an opportunity to kill specific bacteria without collateral damage to the other, and otherwise healthy, intestinal flora,” said Professor Dennis Sandris Nielsen from Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen.

“Using bacteriophages to kill pathogenic bacteria is not new and has actually been used to treat foodborne illnesses and other diseases in Eastern Europe for almost a century, but it was not until relatively recently that this approach started to attract more widespread research interest.

“It is different today, where resistance to antibiotics is an increasing problem in modern medicine. At the same time, we have become more aware of how important the commensal bacteria in the gut are for our health,” said Nielsen.

 

Source: Food Processing

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