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Bacteriophage ϕIBB-PF7A loaded on sodium alginate-based films to prevent microbial meat spoilage

Alves, Diana, Marques, Arlete, Milho, Catarina, Costa, Maria José, Pastrana, Lorenzo M., Cerqueira, Miguel A., Sillankorva, Sanna Maria
International journal of food microbiology 2019 v.291 pp. 121-127
Pseudomonas fluorescens, antimicrobial properties, bacteriophages, breast meat, calcium chloride, cell viability, chicken meat, consumer demand, crosslinking, fillets, food industry, food safety, microbial contamination, microscopy, refrigeration, sodium, spoilage
Despite the recent advances achieved in food industries to fulfil the growing consumer demand for high quality and food safety, microbial contamination remains a serious issue. This study aimed to incorporate ϕIBB-PF7A bacteriophage (phage) onto sodium alginate-based films crosslinked with calcium chloride, to prevent poultry spoilage caused by Pseudomonas fluorescens. Films were prepared by casting and characterized in terms of phage loading, distribution, stability, release profile and antimicrobial performance. Results showed that phages were successfully incorporated as evidenced by their viability and homogeneous distribution within the films as assessed by microscopy. A decrease in phage viability was only detected after 8 weeks when stored under refrigerated conditions. Antimicrobial activity demonstrated that incorporated phages significantly impaired P. fluorescens growth. Films' antimicrobial efficacy was further demonstrated on chicken breast fillets artificially inoculated, decreasing 2Log P. fluorescens viable cell counts in the first two days and reductions were maintained up to 5 days of exposure (1 Log). These results highlight that phage incorporation onto sodium-alginate-based films constitutes a simple approach of preserving the antimicrobial activity of phages in a dried and insoluble format, that can further be applied in food industry for the prevention of microbial spoilage.