Viruses as bacteria killers


The innovative use of modified bacteriophages to provide food safety and combat plant disease by WFSC member Prof. Martin Loessner, Food Microbiology, featured in Tages-Anzieger .

Image: D-HEST, ETH Zurich

The Food Microbiology group of Prof. Martin Loessner conducts fundamental research to develop novel methods for the detection and control of bacterial pathogens. A recent feature in the Tages-Anzeiger (12 June 2017) focuses on many aspects of Loessner’s work.

One of the research focues of the group is the use of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) to combat food-borne bacteria such as Listeria and Salmonella. A method has already been approved for this purpose, in which phages may be added in a preventive manner during cheese production. His team also successfully developed an assay using bacteriophage components to detect all known sub-types of Salmonella, a result recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The group also recently publicized their production of an optimized bacteriophage to effectively combat the plant disease fire blight. This disease, caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, attacks apple and pear trees and other plants in the rosacea family. The new control strategy employs a bacteriophage that exclusively infects the fire blight pathogen.

Read the entire Tages-Anzeiger article here (PDF, 216 KB) (in German).

Read more about Prof. Loessner’s recent publications in Applied and Environmental Microbiology in ETH News.

Watch Prof. Loessner explain his group's research (in German).
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Fri Jul 21 20:55:08 CEST 2017
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