An old technology that uses natural bacteria predators, called bacteriophages, is the focus of new research at the University of Nevada, Reno. The technique is being used to reduce salmonella bacteria in meat products.
A researcher combined four types of salmonella bacteria and grew them in a petri dish in his laboratory and coated the meat with this harmful organism. He let the bacteria take hold for a period of 30 minutes or more and then applied a virus that is called a bacteriophage meaning that it attacks the salmonella bacteria. “We were able to reduce salmonella by as much as 90 percent in ground poultry, ground pork and ground beef,” de Mello reported. “We’re excited to be able to show such good results, food safety is an important part of our work and salmonella is one of the most prevalent bacteria in the nation’s food supply.”