Heat treatment is an effective method for ensuring food safety and quality by controlling microbial contamination. However, food poisoning outbreaks have continuously occurred in heat-treated products due to improper thermal treatment and/or post-contamination of foodborne pathogens. This study proposes a novel strategy combining thermostable bacteriophages with thermal processing of food production plants to control foodborne pathogens and even bacterial contamination. Typically, bacteriophages’ susceptibility to heat is a major challenge to their application with thermal processing, we isolated thermostable bacteriophages by a modified isolation method of applying heat to samples and characterized the thermostable bacteriophages. Furthermore, we optimized the bacteriophage cocktail components to expand the controllable host range and reduce the risk of bacteriophage resistance development. Finally, we verified this antibacterial strategy by combining heat treatment with thermostable bacteriophages in model systems, including milk and chicken breast. After the phage cocktail and heat treatment, we artificially contaminated the food products to mimic the post-contamination event. Surprisingly, the remaining bacteriophages that withstood heat treatment significantly reduced the number of post-contaminated Salmonella. Altogether, thermostable phages could be applied as complementary tools to control post-contamination after thermal processing of food products.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (MSIP) (NRF-2020R1A2B5B03094303).
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science