Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Bacteriophages for prophylaxis and therapy in cattle, poultry and pigs

  • R. P. Johnson (a1), C. L. Gyles (a2), W. E. Huff (a3), S. Ojha (a1), G. R. Huff (a3), N. C. Rath (a3) and A. M. Donoghue (a3)...

The successful use of virulent (lytic) bacteriophages (phages) in preventing and treating neonatal enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections in calves, lambs and pigs has prompted investigation of other applications of phage therapy in food animals. While results have been very variable, some indicate that phage therapy is potentially useful in virulent Salmonella and E. coli infections in chickens, calves and pigs, and in control of the food-borne pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni in chickens and E. coli O157:H7 in cattle. However, more rigorous and comprehensive research is required to determine the true potential of phage therapy. Particular challenges include the selection and characterization of phages, practical modes of administration, and development of formulations that maintain the viability of phages for administration. Also, meaningful evaluation of phage therapy will require animal studies that closely represent the intended use, and will include thorough investigation of the emergence and characteristics of phage resistant bacteria. As well, effective use will require understanding the ecology and dynamics of the endemic and therapeutic phages and their interactions with target bacteria in the farm environment. In the event that the potential of phage therapy is realized, adoption will depend on its efficacy and complementarity relative to other interventions. Another potential challenge will be regulatory approval.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

RL Andreatti Filho , JP Higgins , SE Higgins , G Gaona , AD Wolfenden , G Tellez and BM Hargis (2007). Ability of bacteriophages isolated from different sources to reduce Salmonella enterica serovar enteritidis in vitro and in vivo. Poultry Science 86: 19041909.

RJ Atterbury , E Dillon , C Swift , PL Connerton , JA Frost , CE Dodd , CE Rees and IF Connerton (2005). Correlation of Campylobacter bacteriophage with reduced presence of hosts in broiler chicken ceca. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71: 48854887.

RJ Atterbury , MA Van Bergen , F Ortiz , MA Lovell , JA Harris , A De Boer , JA Wagenaar , VM Allen and PA Barrow (2007). Bacteriophage therapy to reduce Salmonella colonization of broiler chickens. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 73: 45434549.

PA Barrow (2001). The use of bacteriophages for treatment and prevention of bacterial disease in animals and animal models of human infection. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology 76: 677682.

A Berchieri Jr, MA Lovell and PA Barrow (1991). The activity in the chicken alimentary tract of bacteriophages lytic for Salmonella typhimurium. Research in Microbiology 142: 541549.

TE Besser , DD Hancock , LC Pritchett , EM McRae , DH Rice and PI Tarr (1997). Duration of detection of fecal excretion of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in cattle. Journal of Infectious Diseases 175: 726729.

B Biswas , S Adhya , P Washart , B Paul , AN Trostel , B Powell , R Carlton and CR Merril (2002). Bacteriophage therapy rescues mice bacteremic from a clinical isolate of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium [erratum appears in Infection and Immunity 2002;70(3):1664]. Infection and Immunity 70: 204210.

P Boerlin , R Travis , CL Gyles , R Reid-Smith , N Janecko , H Lim , V Nicholson , SA McEwen , R Friendship and M Archambault (2005). Antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes of Escherichia coli isolates from swine in Ontario. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71: 67536761.

TR Callaway , TS Edrington , AD Brabban , RC Anderson , ML Rossman , MJ Engler , MA Carr , KJ Genovese , JE Keen , ML Looper , EM Kutter and DJ Nisbet (2008). Bacteriophage isolated from feedlot cattle can reduce Escherichia coli O157:H7 populations in ruminant gastrointestinal tracts. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 5: 183191.

RM Carlton , WH Noordman , B Biswas , ED de Meester and MJ Loessner (2005). Bacteriophage P100 for control of Listeria monocytogenes in foods: genome sequence, bioinformatic analyses, oral toxicity study, and application. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 43: 301312.

S Chibani-Chennoufi , A Bruttin , ML Dillmann and H Brussow (2004). Phage–host interaction: an ecological perspective. Journal of Bacteriology 186: 36773686.

PL Connerton , CM Loc Carrillo , C Swift , E Dillon , A Scott , CE Rees , CE Dodd , J Frost and IF Connerton (2004). Longitudinal study of Campylobacter jejuni bacteriophages and their hosts from broiler chickens. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70: 38773883.

L Fiorentin , ND Vieira and W Barioni Jr (2005). Oral treatment with bacteriophages reduces the concentration of Salmonella enteritidis PT4 in caecal contents of broilers. Avian Pathology 34: 258263.

VA Fischetti (2005). Bacteriophage lytic enzymes: novel anti-infectives. Trends in Microbiology 13: 491496.

VP Gannon , TA Graham , R King , P Michel , S Read , K Ziebell and RP Johnson (2002). Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection in cows and calves in a beef cattle herd in Alberta, Canada. Epidemiology and Infection 129: 163172.

JJ Gill , JC Pacan , ME Carson , KE Leslie , MW Griffiths and PM Sabour (2006a). Efficacy and pharmacokinetics of bacteriophage therapy in treatment of subclinical Staphylococcus aureus mastitis in lactating dairy cattle. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapeutics 50: 29122918.

JJ Gill , PM Sabour , KE Leslie and MW Griffiths (2006b). Bovine whey proteins inhibit the interaction of Staphylococcus aureus and bacteriophage K. Journal of Applied Microbiology 101: 377386.

S Hagens and MJ Loessner (2007). Application of bacteriophages for detection and control of foodborne pathogens. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 76: 513519.

VM Hansen , H Rosenquist , DL Baggesen , S Brown and BB Christensen (2007). Characterization of Campylobacter phages including analysis of host range by selected Campylobacter Penner serotypes. BMC Microbiology 7: 90.

JP Higgins , SE Higgins , KL Guenther , W Huff , AM Donoghue , DJ Donoghue and BM Hargis (2005). Use of a specific bacteriophage treatment to reduce Salmonella in poultry products. Poultry Science 84: 11411145.

WE Huff , GR Huff , NC Rath , JM Balog , H Xie , PA Moore Jr and AM Donoghue (2002a). Prevention of Escherichia coli respiratory infection in broiler chickens with bacteriophage (SPR02). Poultry Science 81: 437441.

WE Huff , GR Huff , NC Rath , JM Balog and AM Donoghue (2003a). Evaluation of aerosol spray and intramuscular injection of bacteriophage to treat an Escherichia coli respiratory infection. Poultry Science 82: 11081112.

WE Huff , GR Huff , NC Rath , JM Balog and AM Donoghue (2003b). Bacteriophage treatment of a severe Escherichia coli respiratory infection in broiler chickens. Avian Diseases 47: 13991405.

WE Huff , GR Huff , NC Rath , JM Balog and AM Donoghue (2004). Therapeutic efficacy of bacteriophage and Baytril (enrofloxacin) individually and in combination to treat colibacillosis in broilers. Poultry Science 83: 19441947.

N Jamalludeen , RP Johnson , R Friendship , AM Kropinski , EJ Lingohr and CL Gyles (2007). Isolation and characterization of nine bacteriophages that lyse O149 enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Veterinary Microbiology 124: 4757.

N Jamalludeen , AM Kropinski , RP Johnson , E Lingohr , J Harel and CL Gyles (2008). Complete genomic sequence of bacteriophage phiEcoM-GJ1, a novel phage that has myovirus morphology and a podovirus-like RNA polymerase. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74: 516525.

F Jorgensen , R Bailey , S Williams , P Henderson , DR Wareing , FJ Bolton , JA Frost , L Ward and TJ Humphrey (2002). Prevalence and numbers of Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. on raw, whole chickens in relation to sampling methods. International Journal of Food Microbiology 76: 151164.

LO Kallings (1967). Sensitivity of various Salmonella strains to felix 0–1 phage. Acta Pathologica et Microbiologica Scandinavica 70: 446454.

AM Kropinski (2006). Phage therapy – everything old is new again. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology 17: 297306.

WW Laegreid , RO Elder and JE Keen (1999). Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in range beef calves at weaning. Epidemiology and Infection 123: 291298.

JH Lee (2003). Methicillin (oxacillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from major food animals and their potential transmission to humans. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69: 64896494.

C Loc Carillo , RJ Atterbury , A el Shibiny , PL Connerton , E Dillon , A Scott and IF Connerton (2005). Bacteriophage therapy to reduce Campylobacter jejuni colonization of broiler chickens. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71: 65546563.

CD Luby and JR Middleton (2005). Efficacy of vaccination and antibiotic therapy against Staphylococcus aureus mastitis in dairy cattle. Veterinary Record 157: 8990.

Y Ma , JC Pacan , Q Wang , Y Xu , X Huang , A Korenevsky and PM Sabour (2008). Microencapsulation of bacteriophage felix O1 into chitosan-alginate microspheres for oral delivery. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74: 47994805.

JA Makovec and PL Ruegg (2003). Antimicrobial resistance of bacteria isolated from dairy cow milk samples submitted for bacterial culture: 8,905 samples (1994–2001). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 222: 15821589.

T Matsuda , TA Freeman , DW Hilbert , M Duff , M Fuortes , PP Stapleton and JM Daly (2005). Lysis-deficient bacteriophage therapy decreases endotoxin and inflammatory mediator release and improves survival in a murine peritonitis model. Surgery 137: 639646.

S Matsuzaki , M Yasuda , H Nishikawa , M Kuroda , T Ujihara , T Shuin , Y Shen , Z Jin , S Fujimoto , MD Nasimuzzaman , H Wakiguchi , S Sugihara , T Sugiura , S Koda , A Muraoka and S Imai (2003). Experimental protection of mice against lethal Staphylococcus aureus infection by novel bacteriophage phi MR11. Journal of Infectious Diseases 187: 613624.

L Matthews , IJ McKendrick , H Ternent , GJ Gunn , B Synge and ME Woolhouse (2006). Super-shedding cattle and the transmission dynamics of Escherichia coli O157. Epidemiology and Infection 134: 131142.

C Maynard , JM Fairbrother , S Bekal , F Sanschagrin , RC Levesque , R Brousseau , L Masson , S Lariviere and J Harel (2003). Antimicrobial resistance genes in enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli O149:K91 isolates obtained over a 23-year period from pigs. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapeutics 47: 32143221.

K Mizoguchi , M Morita , CR Fischer , M Yoichi , Y Tanji and H Unno (2003). Coevolution of bacteriophage PP01 and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in continuous culture. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69: 170176.

SW Naylor , JC Low , TE Besser , A Mahajan , GJ Gunn , MC Pearce , IJ McKendrick , DG Smith and DL Gally (2003). Lymphoid follicle-dense mucosa at the terminal rectum is the principal site of colonization of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 in the bovine host. Infection and Immunity 71: 15051512.

RA Oot , RR Raya , TR Callaway , TS Edrington , EM Kutter and AD Brabban (2007). Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157 and O157:H7-infecting bacteriophages in feedlot cattle feces. Letters in Applied Microbiology 45: 445453.

RJ Payne and VA Jansen (2003). Pharmacokinetic principles of bacteriophage therapy. Clinical Pharmacokinetics 42: 315325.

DW Piercy and B West (1976). Experimental Escherichia coli infection in broiler chickens: course of the disease induced by inoculation via the air sac route. Journal of Comparative Pathology 86: 203210.

JM Rangel , PH Sparling , C Crowe , PM Griffin and DL Swerdlow (2005). Epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreaks, United States, 1982–2002. Emerging Infectious Diseases 11: 603609.

RR Raya , P Varey , RA Oot , MR Dyen , TR Callaway , TS Edrington , EM Kutter and AD Brabban (2006). Isolation and characterization of a new T-even bacteriophage, CEV1, and determination of its potential to reduce Escherichia coli O157:H7 levels in sheep. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72: 64056410.

H Rosenquist , NL Nielsen , HM Sommer , B Norrung and BB Christensen (2003). Quantitative risk assessment of human Campylobacteriosis associated with thermophilic Campylobacter species in chickens. International Journal of Food Microbiology 83: 87103.

H Sheng , HJ Knecht , IT Kudva and CJ Hovde (2006). Application of bacteriophages to control intestinal Escherichia coli O157:H7 levels in ruminants. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72: 53595366.

IB Sklar and RD Joerger (2001). Attempts to utilize bacteriophage to combat Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis infection in chickens. Journal of Food Safety 21: 1529.

A Sulakvelidze , Z Alavidze and JG Morris Jr (2001). Bacteriophage therapy. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 45: 649659.

H Toro , SB Price , AS McKee , FJ Hoerr , J Krehling , M Perdue and L Bauermeister (2005). Use of bacteriophages in combination with competitive exclusion to reduce Salmonella from infected chickens. Avian Diseases 49: 118124.

AE Van den Bogaard and EE Stobberingh (2000). Epidemiology of resistance to antibiotics links between animals and humans. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 14: 327335.

M Viscardi , AG Perugini , C Auriemma , F Capuano , S Morabito , KP Kim , MJ Loessner and G Iovane (2008). Isolation and characterisation of two novel coliphages with high potential to control antibiotic-resistant pathogenic Escherichia coli (EHEC and EPEC). International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 31: 152157.

JA Wagenaar , MA Van Bergen , MA Mueller , TM Wassenaar , RM Carlton (2005). Phage therapy reduces Campylobacter jejuni colonization in broilers. Veterinary Microbiology 109: 275283.

M Yoichi , M Morita , K Mizoguchi , CR Fischer and Y Tanji (2004). The criterion for selecting effective phage for Escherichia coli control. Biochemical Engineering Journal 19: 221227.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Animal Health Research Reviews
  • ISSN: 1466-2523
  • EISSN: 1475-2654
  • URL: /core/journals/animal-health-research-reviews
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 96 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 755 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 27th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.