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9th Euro-Global Summit & Expo on Food & Beverages

Cologne, Germany

Alexander Sulakvelidze

Alexander Sulakvelidze

Vice President, Intralytix Inc., USA

Title: Bacteriophage applications in food production and processing
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Biography

Biography: Alexander Sulakvelidze

Abstract

Foodborne illnesses of microbial origin continue to be serious food safety problem worldwide. In addition to being of significant public health importance, the economic impact of foodborne bacterial infections is very significant. For example, in the USA alone, Salmonella foodborne illnesses result in ca. $2.4 billion in medical costs annually, and hospitalizations and deaths due to E. coli O157:H7 infections lead to an estimated $405 million in medical costs and lost productivity annually. Also, substantive costs to the food industry are incurred in the form of product loss and brand-damaging publicity associated with recalling products contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Thus, there are very strong public health and economic incentives to develop novel approaches for managing contamination of a broad range of foods by specific foodborne bacterial pathogens. Lytic bacteriophages provide one such approach. Lytic bacteriophages/phages (viruses that kill bacteria) are the oldest and most ubiquitous microorganisms on Earth. Because of their potent, highly specific antibacterial activity, phages may provide an all-natural, nontoxic, and effective means for significantly reducing or eliminating bacterial pathogens present in various foods. Several phage-based products have been recently introduced, including ListShield™ - the first ever phage based product (developed by Intralytix, Inc.) to have received FDA approval for direct food applications. These natural phage products, when properly applied, reduce significantly the levels of their bacterial hosts contaminating various foods without altering their flavors, aromas, or appearances. Bacteriophages represent an emerging “green” technology that can help improve food safety. The presentations will give the audience an overview of the bacteriophage technology and a current and novel perspective on the crucial technical, regulatory, and human safety issues of this emerging technology for improving food safety.

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