SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • antimicrobial;
  • bacteriophage;
  • biocontrol;
  • food;
  • pathogen

Abstract

In recent years it has become widely recognized that bacteriophages have several potential applications in the food industry. They have been proposed as alternatives to antibiotics in animal health, as biopreservatives in food and as tools for detecting pathogenic bacteria throughout the food chain. Bacteriophages are viruses that only infect and lyse bacterial cells. Consequently, they display two unique features relevant in and suitable for food safety. Namely, their safe use as they are harmless to mammalian cells and their high host specificity that allows proper starter performance in fermented products and keeps the natural microbiota undisturbed. However, the recent approval of bacteriophages as food additives has opened the discussion about ‘edible viruses’. In this review, we examine the promising uses of phages for the control of foodborne pathogens and the drawbacks on which more research is needed to further exploit these biological entities.