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Scientists in Ontario have used phage, short for bacteriophage, to destroy listeria and E coli cells on the surface of food. A bacteriophage is a virus that is parasitic in a bacterium and multiplies within its host, which is destroyed when the new viruses are released
The University of Guelph researchers, whose work is published in applied and environmental microbiology, stuck phage on to packaging material. When ready-to-eat foods or raw meat was wrapped in the package, harmful pathogens were killed.
"This work has the potential to change the way today's food packaging operates,” says Mansel Griffiths, one of the researchers and director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph, Canada.