Bacteriophages featured in large scale field study in South Africa
South Africa recently recorded a successful industry-first in the use of bacteriophages to reduce Salmonella loads in chicken-processing facilities. This industry-first was featured in leading industry news bulletins such as that of SAPA – the South African Poultry Association.
4 Million poultry carcasses were sprayed with the bacteriophage product PhageGuard S. It reduced the Salmonella presence significantly proving the efficacy of phages during chicken processing.
While Europe leads the charge for and the technology to achieve ABF (Antibiotic Free) poultry production, South Africa recently recorded an industry-first in the use of bacteriophages to reduce Salmonella presence in chicken processing facilities.
A bacteriophage is a type of virus that infects and destroys bacteria. In fact, the word “bacteriophage” literally means “bacteria eater”. The beauty of bacteriophages is that they only kill their target organism, with no impact on other organisms or the background environment. They are also completely natural and occur abundantly in nature.
The role bacteriophages can play in food safety is a well-researched discipline, but up to now studies were confined to laboratories. That all changed in 2020 when the Centre for Food Safety at Stellenbosch University conducted a field study in an operating chicken abattoir to determine the efficacy of bacteriophages to destroy Salmonella on chicken carcasses. (Salmonella is particularly worrisome, given that it is becoming resistant to almost all antimicrobials).
In the study, more than four million carcasses were treated with a commercial batch of bacteriophages over a period of four weeks. The carcasses were sprayed and sampled before entering and after exiting the spin chiller.
Professor Pieter Gouws of South Africa’s Stellenbosch University says the study proved that bacteriophages, combined with chlorine wash, are effective against multidrug-resistant Salmonella. “When applied correctly, bacteriophages can greatly improve food safety, with no adverse impact on abattoir workers, consumers or the environment”, he says.
In commenting on the study, the GM of SAPA’s Broiler Organisation, Izaak Breitenbach, said that the association supports the move away from antimicrobials. “Bacteriophages can greatly enhance food safety in South Africa, especially given our warm climate in which bacteria multiply quickly and easily”, he says.
Below excerpts from Poultry Bulletin R60, Issue 2 June, can be read.
About SAPA & South African poultry industry turning to phage use
The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) acts on behalf of its members and the greater poultry industry of South Africa and works tirelessly towards the growth and wellbeing of poultry producers large and small. Their efforts ensure the coordination of the aims and objectives of both the Broiler and Egg Organisations.
SAPA works with government and regulatory bodies & commissions scientific studies as required to identify solutions and best practices, and to enable them to provide the counsel their members require of them, representing the industry on all relevant forums.
SAPA also provides guidance regarding transformation and in forming public/private partnerships with government departments and other public bodies, ensuring that their producers have a voice when it comes to the development of regulatory frameworks.All producers of eggs or broilers in South Africa are eligible to apply for membership of SAPA.
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About Micreos & PhageGuard
Micreos is a pioneer in the field of targeted antibacterial technology. We develop cutting-edge proprietary products and technology, among which the PhageGuard product line. Our success is based on a history of successful collaborations with top universities, institutes and customers around the globe. Our innovative research is regularly featured in scientific journals and media publications worldwide.