Scientists have created a viral spray that will help in the disinfection of food

(ORDO NEWS) — A new effective way to disinfect food products was proposed and tested by Canadian scientists. It consists in the use of bacteriophages.

Microorganisms with macro harm

Food products are disinfected by UV irradiation, heat treatment, purely mechanically cleaned, washed, etc. Without this, there is a significant risk of contracting dangerous infections.

According to WHO statistics, due to products inhabited by pathogenic microorganisms in the world every year, 600 million people get sick, and about 420 thousand die.

There are many very resistant microorganisms that are not amenable to traditional cleaning methods.

The journal Nature Communications published one of the new studies, where Canadian scientists talk about their proposed method.

Pros and pain points of the new method

Specialists at McMaster University decided to use bacteriophages to fight infection. This is a special group of viruses that can destroy bacterial cells.

Viruses can be “rolled” into microscopic balls, 20 microns in diameter. But in such a ball several million phages are placed. They are also proposed to be applied to food.

In the experiment, the scientists involved beef and lettuce, and made sure that in just a few hours the phages “ate” a large mass of E. coli 0157.

It is important that bacteriophages are very picky, they target specific types of bacteria.

It is worth changing the composition of the spray, and it will deal with the desired object. In this case, beneficial microorganisms will not be affected.

Phages also destroy bacteria that have adapted to antibiotics. What makes their use especially valuable.

And quite wide: for example, such a method will be effective for disinfecting wounds, treating wastewater, etc. There are also problem points – bacteria that are resistant to viruses themselves.


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