Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Create Medical And Food Safety Tool From Virus

Date:
December 25, 2003
Source:
Institute Of Food Research
Summary:
Scientists have found a way to explode deadly food-poisoning bacteria using an agent found in viruses.

UK scientists have found a way to explode deadly food-poisoning bacteria using an agent found in viruses.

Related Articles


Professor Mike Gasson from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich discovered the potential of viruses while researching flavour development in cheese in the early 1990s. And with the help of Profos AG, an international company specialising in bacterial viruses and antimicrobial agents, and PBL, technology transfer experts on the Norwich Research Park, the germ of an idea is translating into practical technology. A new, exclusive worldwide licence marks a first step towards commercialisation.

"Viruses can infect bacteria as well as humans. A virus invades bacterial cells, multiplies and then produces an enzyme to burst the cell wall, enabling it to escape and infect more cells," says Professor Gasson. "We targeted an enzyme with this fire-power, to develop its potential in combating pathogenic bacteria."

Viruses that infect bacteria are called bacteriophages. The bacteria-bursting enzymes that caught Gasson's attention are called lysins. Different lysins attack specific bacteria, so could be used as a diagnostic tool as well as an antimicrobial therapy in people and animals. The bacteriophage lysins covered in the licence can be used to detect or selectively kill Listeria and Clostridium. They could even provide an alternative to antibiotics in some applications.

Rapid detection is particularly important for some of the more virulent bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria exists naturally in the soil and general environment, but in some soft mould-ripened cheeses and pâtés can be present in higher numbers. The elderly, pregnant women and babies are most vulnerable, which is why pregnant women are advised against eating soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as Brie, Camembert and blue-veined varieties.

When listeriosis takes hold, it is often severe and life-threatening. The United States government operates a zero tolerance policy of Listeria in food. But there is no other simple rapid test available for large scale use by food manufacturers.

"Listeria is the food industry's nightmare. Professor Gasson had the vision to spot the potential of using a virus to destroy it. With the expertise at Profos we're turning that investigative science into a significant food safety tool to benefit the public," says Jan Chojecki, Managing Director of PBL.

The licence also covers lysins that destroy Clostridium. This bacteria forms hardy spores, resistant to heating and drying. In poultry, Clostridium perfringens causes necrotic enteritis, currently cured with antibiotics. In humans, Clostridium difficile causes diarrhoea in patients receiving antibiotic treatment - the bacterium seizes the opportunity to infect provided by disruption to naturally-occurring bacteria of the bowel.

"The demand for commercial alternatives to antibiotics is growing, in response to the need to tackle bacterial antibiotic resistance. As well as providing a new tool to combat bacteria now, there is interest in developing bacteriophage lysins to replace antibiotics in some applications in the future. Unlike antibiotics, this technology provides a precision tool, designed to kill specific bacteria while leaving other micro-organisms intact," says Professor Gasson.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute Of Food Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute Of Food Research. "Scientists Create Medical And Food Safety Tool From Virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031223071252.htm>.
Institute Of Food Research. (2003, December 25). Scientists Create Medical And Food Safety Tool From Virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031223071252.htm
Institute Of Food Research. "Scientists Create Medical And Food Safety Tool From Virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031223071252.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) — Oatmeal is a fantastic way to start your day. Whichever way you prepare them, oats provide your body with many health benefits. In celebration of National Oatmeal Day, Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a few recipe ideas, and tips on how to kickstart your day with this wholesome snack! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins