Research – Natural Killers: Opportunities and Challenges for the Use of Bacteriophages in Microbial Food Safety from the One Health Perspective



Ingestion of food or water contaminated with pathogenic bacteria may cause serious diseases. The One Health approach may help to ensure food safety by anticipating, preventing, detecting, and controlling diseases that spread between animals, humans, and the environment. This concept pays special attention to the increasing spread and dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are considered one of the most important environment-related human and animal health hazards. In this context, the development of innovative, versatile, and effective alternatives to control bacterial infections in order to assure comprehensive food microbial safety is becoming an urgent issue. Bacteriophages (phages), viruses of bacteria, have gained significance in the last years due to the request for new effective antimicrobials for the treatment of bacterial diseases, along with many other applications, including biotechnology and food safety. This manuscript reviews the application of phages in order to prevent food- and water-borne diseases from a One Health perspective. Regarding the necessary decrease in the use of antibiotics, results taken from the literature indicate that phages are also promising tools to help to address this issue. To assist future phage-based real applications, the pending issues and main challenges to be addressed shortly by future studies are also taken into account.

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