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Isolation and Characterization of a Phage to Control Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus faecium

Raza, Taskeen, Andleeb, Saadia, Ullah, Sidra Rahmat, Jamal, Muhsin, Mehmood, Khalid, Ali, Muhammad
Open life sciences 2018 v.13 no.1 pp. 553-560
Enterococcus faecium, adsorption, bacterial growth, bacteriophages, calcium, cross infection, hospitals, humans, intestines, ions, latent period, magnesium, milk, multiple drug resistance, municipal wastewater, pH, pathogens, phage therapy, sewage, temperature, vancomycin, virion, Pakistan
Enterococcus faecium, is an important nosocomial pathogen with increased incidence of multidrug resistance (MDR) – specifically Vancomycin resistance. E. faecium constitutes the normal microbiota of the human intestine as well as exists in the hospitals and sewage, thus making the microorganism difficult to eliminate. Phage therapy has gained attention for controlling bacterial MDR infections and contaminations. We have successfully isolated from waste water and characterized a lytic bacteriophage STH1 capable of targeting Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREF) with high specificity. The phage was isolated from sewage water of a hospital at district Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. Initial characterization showed that magnesium and calcium ions significantly increased phage adsorption to the host. One step growth experiment showed a latent period of 18 min with burst size of 334 virions per cell. Optimal temperature and pH of the phage was 37°C and 7.0, respectively. Phage application to host strain grown in milk and water (treated and untreated) showed that the phage efficiently controlled bacterial growth. The study suggests that the phage STH1 can serve as potential control agent for E. faecium infections in medical facilities and in other environmental contaminations.