Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
BACTERIOPHAGES FOR FOOD DECONTAMINATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/150121
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The disclosure provides phage-based methods, compositions and uses which may be applied to the prevention, management and/or control of microorganisms that cause damage, disease, spoilage and/or or loss of food, including vegetable, fruit and other fresh produce. The disclosure exploits bacteriophage (or "phage") as a means to inactivate, kill or destroy microorganisms present on food and which are associated with, for example, disease, damage and spoilage (rotting).

Inventors:
BLACKWELL, Alison (7D Muirdrum, Nr. Carnoustie, Angus DD7 6LE, DD7 6LE, GB)
MACK, Kiri (19 Meadowview Place, Inchture, Perth PH14 9TG, PH14 9TG, GB)
Application Number:
GB2019/050273
Publication Date:
August 08, 2019
Filing Date:
January 31, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
APS BIOCONTROL LIMITED (7D Muirdrum, Carnoustie, Angus DD7 6LE, DD7 6LE, GB)
International Classes:
A01N63/00; A01P1/00; A23B4/22; A23L3/3571; C12N7/00
Foreign References:
EP0290295A21988-11-09
EP1930417A12008-06-11
Other References:
HENK R HOOGENKAMP: "Your enemy's foe is your friend", FLEISCHWIRTSCHAFT INTERNATIONAL, no. 2, 1 January 2009 (2009-01-01), Germany, pages 44 - 49, XP055566277
ELAINE SILVA ET AL: "Control of Listeria monocytogenes growth in soft cheeses by bacteriophage P100", BRAZILIAN JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGY : [PUBLICATION OF THE BRAZILIAN SOCIETY FOR MICROBIOLOGY], 1 January 2014 (2014-01-01), Brazil, pages 11 - 16, XP055566285, Retrieved from the Internet DOI: 10.1590/S1517-83822014000100003
S. GUENTHER ET AL: "Virulent Bacteriophage for Efficient Biocontrol of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Foods", APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 75, no. 1, 14 November 2008 (2008-11-14), US, pages 93 - 100, XP055566292, ISSN: 0099-2240, DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01711-08
ZHEN LUO ET AL: "Quantitative real time measurements of bacteria-bacteriophages interactions in fresh lettuce leaves", JOURNAL OF FOOD ENGINEERING, vol. 111, no. 1, 25 January 2012 (2012-01-25), GB, pages 176 - 185, XP055566282, ISSN: 0260-8774, DOI: 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2011.12.025
BRITTA LEVERENTZ ET AL: "Examination of Bacteriophage as a Biocontrol Method for Salmonella on Fresh-Cut Fruit: A Model Study", JOURNAL OF FOOD PROTECTION, vol. 64, no. 8, 1 August 2001 (2001-08-01), US, pages 1116 - 1121, XP055566299, ISSN: 0362-028X, DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X-64.8.1116
F. MCKENNA ET AL: "Novel in vivo use of a polyvalent Streptomyces phage to disinfest Streptomyces scabies-infected seed potatoes", PLANT PATHOLOGY, vol. 50, no. 6, 1 December 2001 (2001-12-01), GB, pages 666 - 675, XP055566334, ISSN: 0032-0862, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3059.2001.00648.x
ROBERT CZAJKOWSKI: "Bacteriophages of Soft Rot Enterobacteriaceae -a minireview", FEMS MICROBIOLOGY LETTERS, vol. 363, no. 2, 30 November 2015 (2015-11-30), pages fnv230, XP055566493, DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fnv230
GREER G G: "HOMOLOGOUS BACTERIOPHAGE CONTROL OF PSEUDOMONAS GROWTH AND BEEF SPOILAGE", JOURNAL OF FOOD PROTECTION, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR FOOD PROTECTION, US, vol. 49, no. 2, 1 January 1986 (1986-01-01), pages 104 - 109, XP001024459, ISSN: 0362-028X
DATABASE WPI Week 201327, Derwent World Patents Index; AN 2013-D35423, XP002789542
.: "Meet & Match Micreos @ 0:42 min of 1:41 min", YOUTUBE VIDEO, 19 February 2015 (2015-02-19), Internet, pages 1 - 1, XP055566610, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20190308]
ALISON BLACKWELL: "The Potential for Bacteriophage to Control Soft Rot Development in Store", AHDB POTATO STORAGE FORUM, 1 March 2016 (2016-03-01), UK, pages 1 - 18, XP055566661, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20190308]
EMAN MAREI ET AL: "Biological Control of Pectobacterium carotovorum Via Specific Lytic Bacteriophage", J. BASIC APPL. SCI. RES, vol. 7, 3 June 2017 (2017-06-03), pages 1 - 9, XP055566788, ISSN: 2090-4304
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARKS & CLERK LLP (Aurora, 120 Bothwell Street, Glasgow G2 7JS, G2 7JS, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1. A method of decontaminating food of one or more microorganisms, said method comprising contacting the food with one or more phage.

2. Phage for use in a method of decontaminating food of one or more microorganisms, said method comprising contacting the food with one or more phage.

3. A composition for the decontamination of food of one or more microorganisms, said composition comprising one or more phage.

4. The method, phage for use or composition of claim 3, wherein the food is selected from the group consisting of:

(i) any food, food stuff and/or food product for human or animal consumption;

(ii) manufactured, harvested, farmed or processed food, food stuff, produce or product;

(iii) crops;

(iv) cereals;

(v) dairy produce;

(vi) meat;

(vii) vegetables and root vegetables;

(viii) edible leaves, herbs or salad;

(ix) fruit;

(x) seeds;

(xi) tubers;

(xii) bagged salad; and

(xiii) potatoes.

5. The method, phage for use or composition of any preceding claim, wherein the microorganism(s) is/are part of the microbial flora of the food.

6. The method, phage for use or composition of any one of claims 1-4, wherein the microorganism(s) is/are a microbial contaminant or pathogens of the food.

7. The method, phage for use or composition of any preceding claim, wherein the microorganism(s) is/are associated with spoilage, premature ripening and/or rotting of the food.

8. The method, phage for use or composition of any preceding claim, wherein method, phage for use or composition comprise one or more phage types specific for one or more microorganisms.

9. The method, phage for use or composition of any preceding claim, wherein the phage are selected from the group consisting of:

(i) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42290;

(ii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42292;

(iii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42294;

(iv) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42296;

(v) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42298;

(vi) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42300;

(vii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42302;

(viii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42304;

(ix) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42520;

(x) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42522;

(xi) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42524;

(xii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42526;

(xiii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42528;

10. The method, phage for use or composition of any preceding claim, wherein the phage comprise:

(i) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42290;

(ii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42292;

(iii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42294;

(iv) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42296;

(v) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42298;

(vi) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42300;

(vii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42302; and

(viii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 42304.

1 1. The method, phage for use or composition of any one of claims 1-8, wherein the phage are selected from the group consisting of:

(i) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43321

(ii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43323

(iii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43325

(iv) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43327

12. The method, phage for use or composition of claim 1 1 , wherein the phage comprise:

(i) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43321

(ii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43323

(iii) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43325; and

(iv) Phage deposited as NCIMB 43327

13. The method, phage for use or composition of claims 1 1 and 12, wherein the phage further comprises the phage deposited as NCIMB 42294 and/or the phage deposited as Accession No: NCIMB 42302.

14. Food and/or stored or packed food treated with a method, phage for use or composition of any one of claims 1-13.

Description:
BACTERIOPHAGES FOR FOOD DECONTAMINATION

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Described herein are methods, compositions and uses which may be applied to the prevention, management and/or control of microorganisms that cause damage, disease, spoilage and/or or loss of food, including vegetable, fruit and other fresh produce. The invention exploits bacteriophage (or “phage”) as a means to inactivate, kill or destroy microorganisms present on food and which are associated with, for example, disease, damage and spoilage (rotting).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The presence of certain microorganisms in or on food can be associated with food spoilage, rotting and/or disease. Fruit and vegetables (including root vegetables/tubers and edible (salad) leaves)) are particularly prone to microbial induced rotting and spoilage as in addition to any microorganisms which form part of their natural flora, freshly harvested fruit and vegetables can become contaminated with soil, compost and/or water, all of which may contain undesirable microorganisms, some of those microorgainsms being associated with spoilage and/or rotting of food.

Fruit and vegetables which are stored and/or placed in bags for sale and particularly susceptible to microbial induced spoilage and/or rotting as the atmosphere, for example the humidity during storage and/or in a bag, can promote microbial growth. Furthermore, the harvesting and/or preparation process may cause damage to the food leaving them vulnerable to microbial infection. Additionally, crops and other food plants (or produce) may become contaminated in the field (i.e. while been grown); this contamination may cause the crop/food plant to succumb to diseases. These diseases may spoil the crop/food plant and/or may reduce yield. Seed may also be similarly effected - that is to say, seed may be contaminated with microorganisms (including bacteria); this contamination may occur in storage and/or in the field and can lead to disease in plants grown or germinated therefrom. Food which is prepared for sale and/or storage is subject to washing and other preparation procedures which are aimed at removing dirt, microorganisms and other contaminants. These procedures reduce the risk of the stored or packed food succumbing to microbial induced spoilage and/or rotting. For example, in the case of edible leaves prepared for sale as bagged“ready to use” salads, the leaves are washed prior to bagging. But in the event the water is contaminated, the bagged leaves may quickly spoil and/or rot. Without wishing to be bound by example, microorganisms of the bacterial genera Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Moraxella, Erwinia, Pectobacterium, Dickeya and Escherichia (and other members of the Enterobacteriaceae) and fungal genera Botrytis, Penicilliumi, Guignardia, Fusarium and Sclerotinia are frequently associated with food disease, spoilage, damage and/or rotting.

Washing and other preparation procedures may greatly reduce instances of spoilage and/or rotting in packaged and/or stored food but there is a need for additional processes which target those microorganisms often present on or in food and which are known to be associated with these problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure is based on the finding that phage and compositions comprising the same (including composition comprising one or more different phage), may be exploited as a means to decontaminate, purge or cleanse food of microorganisms. The presence of microorganisms in or on food can lead to, for example, disease, damage (loss of food), a shortening of shelf life, premature ripening, reduced yield, spoilage and/or rotting. Microbial contamination of food also represents a potential health risk, increasing the likelihood of food poisoning and the like. This invention provides methods, uses and compositions which may be exploited as a means to reduce or eliminate the presence of microorganisms on or in food and in turn, the various problems associated therewith.

As such, a first aspect provides a method of decontaminating food of one or more microorganisms, said method comprising contacting the food with one or more phage.

A second aspect provides phage for use in a method of decontaminating food of one or more microorganisms, said method comprising contacting the food with one or more phage.

A third aspect provides a composition for the decontamination of food of one or more microorganisms, said composition comprising one or more phage.

A fourth aspect provides phage or a composition comprising the same, for use in decontaminating plants and/or seed.

For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that throughout this specification, the terms “comprise” and/or“comprising” are used to denote that aspects and/or embodiments of the invention “comprise” the noted features and as such, may also include other features. However, in the context of this invention, the terms“comprise” and“comprising” encompass embodiments in which the invention “consists essentially of” the relevant features or “consists of’ the relevant features.

Food which may be subject to the methods and uses described herein may include any food, food stuff and/or food product for human or animal consumption. The term “food” may embrace any manufactured, harvested, farmed or processed food, food stuff, produce or product. The term food may further be applied to any fresh produce as well as prepared and/or processed produce which has been stored or prepared for storage. For example, the term food (or indeed the term“plants” as used herein) may encompass any plant or animal matter including, for example crops, cereals, dairy produce, meat, vegetables (including root vegetables), edible leaves (eg. herb or salad leaves), fruit, seeds, tubers, bulbs and the like. Without being limited to any particular example, the term “food” may encompass, for example, cucumbers, tomatoes, tubers (e.g. potatoes), apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, sprouts, beetroots, turnips, cabbages, edible leaves (salad leaves including all types of lettuce, spinach, rocket, chard, endive, watercress and the like) and any other type of vegetable or fruit. The invention may find application in treating or preventing spoilage and/or rotting of food, including perishable food stuffs. For convenience, the various types of food to which this invention may be applied to shall be collectively referred to as“food”.

Food, in particular (freshly) harvested produce from fields and the like is frequently contaminated with microorganisms which, if not removed, may present a risk to health and/or lead to (premature) spoilage of the food through rotting. Indeed, certain microorganisms present in the environment and/or soil, are known to promote rotting or spoilage in vegetables and root vegetables (including edible tubers and leaves) and therefore it would be advantageous to remove these microorganisms, or at least reduce or substantially reduce their presence as contaminants, before packaging these types of food for storage or sale. Thus, prior to, during and/or after processing, packaging and/or storage, fruit and vegetables may be subject to a method or use of this invention or applied a composition of this invention so as to reduce the presence of microbial contaminants which might otherwise promote spoilage and/or rotting if not removed therefrom or destroyed, inactivated or killed.

The term“microorganism" as used herein may include any microorganism which is part of the microbial flora of a particular type of food and/or any food borne microorganism. A food borne microorganism may be any microorganism naturally present in a food or on the surface thereof. Additionally, or alternatively, the term “microorganism” may encompass microbial contaminants or “pathogens” of food. Microbial contaminants of food may be present as surface contaminants and/or as contaminants which have infected and/or penetrated the tissues and/or components of the food. The microbial contamination of food may occur as a consequence of contamination by, for example, soil or (contaminated) water (for example water used to wash during food processing and/or packaging procedures). Food borne microorganisms (contaminants or otherwise) may be associated with spoilage, premature ripening and/or rotting of food - including, for example, perishable food stuffs and/or products, fruit, (root) vegetables and/or edible leaves. Food, in particular, vegetables and/or edible leaves, may be prepared for sale in pre-packed bags. In addition to any microorganisms naturally present in or on the vegetables and/or edible leaves, this type of food product may contain traces of soil and/or compost which provide a potential source of microbial contamination. While washing and other cleaning procedures may be used to remove microorganisms and potential sources of microbial contamination, microorganisms (contaminants or otherwise) which remain present on or in the food as it is packed, may result in spoilage and/or rotting of the food. Additionally or alternatively, the washing procedures used to prepare and process food (for example vegetables and the like) for bagging, may inadvertently use contaminated water which could introduce a further source of microbial contamination. In addition to inducing spoilage etc., microbial contamination may further represent a potential risk to human health.

Disclosed herein are means (methods, compositions and uses) to facilitate the decontamination of food. The term“decontamination" encompasses any process aimed at reducing or eliminating the numbers of microorganisms (both those which naturally occur on the surface of the food and/or those which are contaminants) present on or in a given type of food. Standard food decontamination processes may comprise one or more washing or cleaning procedures which remove surface dirt and/or perhaps some surface microorganisms and/or microbial contamination. Moreover, fruit and vegetables (including edible leaves) may be further processed to remove bruising and/or other lesions/wounds which might be prone or susceptible to microbial infection/contamination. However, these procedures may not adequately remove microorganisms and thus, the compositions, methods and uses of this invention may be exploited as additional and/or alternative means for achieving the microbial decontamination of food. It should be understood that the compositions described herein may not only be applied to food as it is processed for packing and/or storage, but also to crops as they are growing and even to seeds before they are planted. Indeed, food seed, crops and/or products, may be regularly treated with compositions of this invention so as to achieve regular decontamination.

In accordance with this invention, the decontamination of microorganisms present on or in food (as contaminants or otherwise) may take the form of the destruction, inactivation and/or killing of one or more microorganisms and/or the inactivation or killing of a proportion (for example about 0.001 % to about 1 %, about 10%, about 20%, about 30%, about 40%, about 50%, about 60%, about 65%, about 70%, about 75%, about 80%, about 85%, about 90%, about 95%, about 96%, about 97%, about 98%, about 99% or about 100%) of a population of food borne microorganisms.

The microbial flora of any given food (including all those types of food described herein) may comprise isolated cells (individual microorganisms), colonies and/or spores. Additionally or alternatively, the contamination may take the form of one or more populations or biofilms, which populations or biofilms comprise one or more different microorganisms. The term “microbial flora” and any contaminating microorganisms may further comprise one or more microbial species representing, for example, a number of different microbial types. For example, the microbial flora or any microbial contaminant of food may comprise different types, strains and/or species of bacteria, viruses, fungi and/or protozoa. Thus the process of decontamination as described herein may encompass the inactivation, destruction and/or killing of any, all or a proportion (as described above) of the isolated microbial cells, microbial colonies, microbial biofilms and/or microbial populations

Thus, as explained in more detail below, the compositions, methods and uses described herein may exploit one or more phage types specific for one or more of the microorganisms which make up the microbial flora of a food to be decontaminated. The phage types for use in this invention may be specific for one or more microorganisms associated with food damage, loss, spoilage and/or rotting.

The phage used in the methods, compositions and uses described herein may each target one or more types of bacteria.

Phage suitable for use according to this disclosure may be any phage which is able to target a food borne microorganism (for example a food borne bacteria or food borne bacterial pathogen), in particular, those associated with spoilage, rotting and the like. Phage which target certain microorganisms may be said to exhibit an affinity or specificity for the microorganism. Suitable phage may exhibit a specificity and/or affinity for a particular microorganism(s). Without wishing to be bound by theory, phage for use according to this disclosure may infect a microorganism and subsequently (i.e. post infection) destroy, inhibit, kill and/or inactivate that microorganism. Phage suitable for use according to this disclosure may target certain bacteria and/or exhibit a specificity or affinity for those bacteria. In particular the phage may target and/or be specific to or have an affinity for, those bacteria which cause or are associated with, spoilage or rotting in food. Suitable phage may infect and subsequently lyse or otherwise destroy, inactivate or kill their target bacteria.

Microorganisms (bacteria) which are infected by phage may be termed “host” microorganisms - that is they“host” the phage. Thus phage for use in this invention may individually (or collectively) exhibit a host specificity which corresponds to those microorganisms known to be associated with food spoilage and/or rotting.

Without wishing to be bound by theory, phage for use in the various aspects and embodiments described herein may be described as either lytic or lysogenic. Lytic phage for use may include (but are not limited to) those that kill, inactivate and/or inhibit their target bacteria by first injecting their viral DNA or RNA and then replicating to induce microbial or bacterial cell death by, for example, lysis. Useful lysogenic phage may incorporate their nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) into the host and at some later stage (perhaps in response to a stress stimulus, for example UV light exposure) will replicate and cause bacterial cell death.

Phage or use according to this disclosure may be obtained (or are obtainable) by methods which identify phage with an ability to lyse (kill) certain microorganisms - in particular, those microorganisms (bacteria) which are associated with spoilage and/or rotting in food. Microorganisms which are associated with food spoilage and/or rotting may be isolated from samples of soil (or some other culture substrate), plant matter (roots, shoots, fruit, leaves, stems, seeds, buds and the like), tubers/root vegetables and/or water (water used in the growing of food and/or water used to wash food). Microorganisms associated with rotting and/or spoilage of food may also be isolated from samples of food which exhibit rot/spoilage symptoms. Thus methods which identify phage suitable for use according to this disclosure may comprise, contacting a microorganism with a phage and/or phage composition and determining whether or not the phage and/or phage composition is able to lyse, kill or destroy the microorganism. In such methods, the phage or phage composition may be referred to as a “test phage/composition”. The microorganism may be a microorganism isolated from any of the samples described above. Phage which exhibit an ability to lyse (or are lysogenic) or kill/destroy food borne microorganisms and/or food spoilage associated microorganisms, may be used in the methods, uses and compositions of this invention. One of skill will appreciate that variety and geographical origin of a particular food may dictate its microbial flora and/or the type of microorganism most likely to be associated with contamination, infection, spoilage and/or rot. For example, food from one geographical location may be susceptible or prone to disease, rotting and/or spoilage caused or contributed to by one or more microorganism(s), and the same food from another geographical location may be susceptible to disease, rotting and/or spoilage caused by one or more different microorganism(s). By obtaining samples of rotting food, soil, water, plant matter, tubers from around the world, from different varieties (fruit and vegetables and the like) of the same food and/or from food exhibiting symptoms of different types of spoilage/rot or disease, it should be possible to provide compositions which are not only effective against food spoilage/rotting bacteria from a range of geographic areas, but also useful in treating or preventing spoilage in different varieties of the same food and different types of spoilage, disease and/or rotting (for example spoilage, disease and/or rotting with a variable microbial aetiology). A phage or phage composition may be modified and/or supplemented with additional phage of the same or different families to target the specific microorganisms of each geographical region.

The disclosure may exploit single or multiple phage types, each phage exhibiting a specificity and/or affinity for a single or multiple different microorganism(s). For example, where a particular food exhibits a particular microbial flora or is likely to be affected by (a) specific microbial contaminant(s), then any composition for use may be formulated so as to contain phage types which are specific to that flora and/or those contaminants. In other words, the phage for use may comprise one or more different phage types each with specificity or affinity for one or more of the relevant microorganisms.

The microbial flora of food (in particular fruit, (root) vegetables, edible leaves and the like) may comprise one or more genera of bacteria including (but not limited to) bacteria of the genera Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Moraxella, Erwinia, Pectobacterium, Dickeya and Escherichia (and other members of the Enterobacteriaceae).

The disclosure may provide a means to prevent or reduce instances of for example, soft rot or blackleg/bacterial rots as caused by certain bacteria including, for example, those belonging to the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya. The disclosure may be applied to the treatment or prevention of soft rot in, for example potatoes by decontamination of potatoes of bacteria of the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya. For example, suitable bacteriophage may inactivate and/or kill one or more target bacteria as described herein, including any which cause or contribute to (or are associated with) rotting and/or instances of soft rot in vegetables, including those belonging to the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya.

Phage for use according to this disclosure may be derived from one or more taxonomic groups. Where the disclosure concerns the use of bacteriophage, tailed-phage of the order Caudovirales may be used. For example, bacteriophage belonging to the families Myoviridae, Siphoviridae and Podoviridae may be used.

As such, this disclosure provides a method of decontaminating food of one or more bacteria, said method comprising contacting the food with one or more Myoviridae , Siphoviridae and/or Podoviridae bacteriophage. Furthermore, the disclosure provides phage for use in a method of decontaminating food of one or more bacteria, said method comprising contacting the food with one or more Myoviridae, Siphoviridae and Podoviridae bacteriophage. The bacterial may include Pseudomonas, Pectobacterium and/or Dickeya species.

The disclosure further provides compositions for the decontamination of food of one or more bacteria, said composition comprising one or more bacteriophage selected from the group consisting of Myoviridae, Siphoviridae and Podoviridae bacteriophage. Again, the bacteria against which the composition of this embodiment of the invention may be used, may include Pseudomonas, Pectobacterium and/or Dickeya species.

This disclosure may provide a method of decontaminating food of one or more bacteria, said method consisting essentially of, or consisting of, contacting the food with one or more Myoviridae, Siphoviridae and/or Podoviridae bacteriophage. Furthermore, the methods of this disclosure may include methods of decontaminating food of one or more bacteria, which methods consist essentially of, or consist of, contacting the food with one or more Myoviridae, Siphoviridae and Podoviridae bacteriophage.

The disclosure further provides compositions for the decontamination of food of one or more bacteria, said composition consisting essentially of, or consisting of, one or more Myoviridae, Siphoviridae and Podoviridae bacteriophage.

The compositions of this invention may be suitable for use preventing or reducing instances of rotting and/or spoilage in fruit and/or vegetables, including, for example, root vegetables, edible tubers (potatoes for example) and edible (salad) leaves. For example, a method of preventing, treating or reducing instances of rot and/or spoilage in food (for example on or in fruits and vegetables) may comprise the use of a composition described herein - said composition comprising one or more of the bacteriophage described herein.

The disclosure may exploit one or more bacteriophage selected from the group consisting of:

APS Ph 1 (deposited as NCIMB 42290)

APS Ph 5 (deposited as NCIMB 42298)

APS Ph 7 (deposited as NCIMB 42302)

For example, a composition of this invention may comprise one, two or all three of the bacteriophage listed as (i), (ii) and (iii) above.

For example a composition of this disclosure may exploit one or more of the bacteriophage listed in tables 1 and 3a below. For example, a composition of this disclosure may comprise one or more of the bacteriophage listed as (1 )-(xiii) below.

(i) APSPbl

(ii) APSPb2

(iii) APSPb3

(iv) APSPb4

(v) APSPb5

(vi) APSPb6

(vii) APSPb7

(viii) APSDsl

(ix) APSPsl

(x) APSPs2

(xi) APSPs3

(xii) APSPs4

(xiii) APSPs5

Additionally or alternatively, a composition of this disclosure may exploit one or more of the bacteriophage listed in table 3b below. For example, a composition of this disclosure may comprise one or more of the bacteriophage listed as (1)-(4) below.

(1) APSPH9;

(2) APSPH10; (3) APSPH1 1 ; and

(4) APSPH12.

Without wishing to be bound by theory, the inventors have discovered that compositions comprising one or more of the phage disclosed herein are particularly useful as the microorganisms (for example bacteria) to which they are specific do not mutating sufficiently over time to render the composition useless and/or there are likely multiple attachment sites for the bacteriophage on the bacterial surface.

A composition of this disclosure may further comprise an excipient, diluent or buffer. For example, a composition may comprise an amount of a formulated“phage buffer”. The phage for use (one or more of those described herein) may be suspended in a volume of a suitable phage buffer. A useful phage buffer may comprise a buffer and one or more salts (for example inorganic salts). For example, a useful phage buffer may comprise a volume of Tris, an amount of NaCI and MgS0 4 .

A suitable formulation may be:

50mM Tris (pH 7.5);

100mM NaCI; and

8mM MgSo4.

The method, use and/or composition according to this disclosure may exploit at least two or at least three bacteriophage selected from the group consisting of bacteriophage (i) to (xiii) listed above and in Tables 3a and 3b below. For example, the various uses, methods and compositions of the disclosure may exploit a“core phage mixture” comprising (or“consisting essentially” or“consisting” of), for example, bacteriophage APSPbl , APSPb2, APSDsl , APSPsl

In addition to any core or bacteriophage mixtures described herein, the invention may further exploit one or more other phage/bacteriophage, including, for example one or more of the bacteriophage listed as (iii)-(vi), (viii) and (x)-(xiv). Phage or bacteriophage which are combined for use with a core phage/bacteriophage mixture of this invention may be referred to as“supplementary” phage/bacteriophage.

By way of example, a composition of this invention may comprise four (for example the four bacteriophage identified as the“core-mix”) bacteriophage. Alternatively, a composition of this invention may comprise, consist essentially of consist of, an amount of each of the following bacteriophage:

(i) APSPbl (deposited as NCIMB 42290, 24 th September 2014*);

(ii) APSPb5 (deposited as NCIMB 42292, 24 th September 2014*);

(iii) APSPb2 (deposited as NCIMB 42294, 24 th September 2014*);

(iv) APSPb6 (deposited as NCIMB 42296, 24 th September 2014*);

(v) APSPb3 (deposited as NCIMB 42298, 24 th September 2014*);

(vi) APSPb4 (deposited as NCIMB 42300, 24 th September 2014*);

(vii) APSPb7 (deposited as NCIMB 42302, 24 th September 2014*); and

(viii) APSDsl (deposited as NCIMB 42304, 24 th September 2014*).

* AII deposits made with the National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) Ltd., of Ferguson Building, Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9YA. All deposits (NCIMB 42290, NCIM 42292, NCIMB 42294 and NCIMB 42296, NCIMB 42298, NCIMB 42300, NCIMB 42302, NCIMB 42304) made 14th September 2014.

A composition comprising all eight of the abovementioned phage may be referred to as an “UK mix” or“eight phage mix”. Further details regarding each of these phage types are provided in the table below.

Accession

Bacteriophage Host Isolate Details Bacteriophage

Numbers

Lab Patent Sample Lab Patent Original

Species Location Phage Host

Designation Designation Type Designation Designation code

Pectobacterium APS Phi Potato NC1MB NC1MB

1039 atrosepticum Host Scotland stem BRA1 10391 APS Phi 42290 42291 APSPbl

Pectobacterium APS Ph2 N. NCIMB NCIMB

29 atrosepticum Host Ireland Soil BRA3 29 1 APS Ph2 42292 42293 APSPb5

Pectobacterium APS Ph3 NCIMB NCIMB

BA120521S atrosepticum Host 12/05/ Scotland water BA120521S-1 APS Ph3 42294 42295 APSPb2

BS170412- Pectobacterium APS Ph4 NCIMB NCIMB

11 atrosepticum Host 17/04/2012 Scotland water BL210615-1 APS Ph4 42296 42297 APSPb6

Pectobacterium APS Ph5 Potato NCIMB NCIMB

103 carotovorum Host Scotland Tuber wb3 tpl03 1 APS Ph5 42298 42299 APSPb3

Pectobacterium APS Ph6 NCIMB NCIMB

AB220313 atrosepticum Host 22/03/2013 Scotland water AB13 1 APS Ph6 42300 42301 APSPb4

Pectobacterium APS Ph7 NCIMB NCIMB

BL1108-93 sp. Host 11/08/2010 UK water 93.9 APS Ph7 42302 42303 APSPb7

APS Ph8 Potato NCIMB NCIMB

D. solani 4 Dickeya solani Host 2009 Non-UK stem DS4 APS Ph8 42304 42305 APSDsl

Table 1

Another composition of this invention may comprise, consist essentially of consist of, an amount of each of the following bacteriophage:

(i) APS PH9 (Accession no: NCIMB 43321*);

(ii) APS PH10 (Accession no: NCIMB 43323*);

(iii) APS PH1 1 (Accession no; NCIMB 43325*); and

(iv) APS PH12 (Accession no: NCIMB 43327*).

*AII deposits made with the National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) Ltd., of Ferguson Building, Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9YA.

All deposits (NCIMB 43321 , NCIM 43323, NCIMB 43325 and NCIMB 43327) made 19 th December 2018.

A composition of this type may be referred to as a "European phage mix”. The European phage mix may optionally be supplemented with any other phage type described herein. For example, a composition may comprise the“European mix” described above with amounts on one or more phage selected from the group consisting of:

(i) APS Ph3; and

(ii) APS Ph7.

Without wishing to be bound by theory, certain combinations of phage (bacteriophage) may be particularly useful and/or exhibit a synergistic effect. That is to say, that the decontaminating effect of a combination of different phage types is greater than the sum of the decontaminating effect of the individual phage types. For example, the eight phage listed above can be used in an exemplary composition.

The disclosure may further comprise compositions comprising one or more bacteriophage selected from the group consisting of the bacteriophage listed as (i)-(xiii) above. The invention may further provide compositions comprising at least two or at least three of the bacteriophage listed as (i)-(xiii) above.

Compositions of this invention may comprise a core mixture comprising (or “consisting essentially” or“consisting” of) bacteriophage APSPbl , APSPb2, APSDsl , APSPsl

The compositions of this invention may be formulated for application to food, to plants (food plants) and or to seed. The composition may be provided as liquid formulations which may be poured, sprayed, dropped or wiped onto a food, plant and/or seed to be decontaminated. The number of bacteriophage present in a composition of this invention may be dictated by the likely or predicted number, diversity and/or type of microorganisms (or microbial flora) present on the food to be decontaminated. The more diverse the microbial flora or contaminants (comprising for example different species or types of bacteria) the more phage may be required to ensure a suitable level of decontamination is achieved. Nevertheless, this invention may be applied equally to the decontamination of a food item of one particular type of microorganism as it can to the decontamination of a food item of two or more different types or strains of microorganism. Thus the term “composition” as used herein, encompasses compositions comprising one phage type or two or more phage types.

A composition of this invention may comprise any suitable concentration or amount of phage. For example the total phage content may be 10 2 pfu/ml, 10 3 pfu/ml, 10 4 pfu/ml, 10 5 pfu/ml, 10 6 pfu/ml, 10 7 pfu/ml, 10 8 pfu/ml or 10 9 pfu/ml 10 10 For example, suitable concentrations may be between about 10 4 pfu/ml and about 10 8 pfu/ml.

The compositions of this invention may be used during food processing procedures as a supplement to standard washing, cleaning and/or decontamination techniques. For example, a food may be washed or cleaned in a composition of this invention, which composition comprises one or more phage (for example bacteriophage) of the type described herein. Additionally, or alternatively, prior to packaging or bagging (for example type of fruit, vegetable or edible leaves), a composition of this invention (which composition comprises one or more bacteriophage) may be applied (by dropping, spraying or the like) to the food or food plant/seed.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides a method of preparing food for storage or packing, said method comprising contacting a food to be stored or packed with one or more phage capable of inactivating, killing or destroying one or more microorganisms of the food microbial flora and/or a composition of this invention.

It should be understood that the term “contact” may encompass contact between one or more phage and/or a composition of this invention under conditions which facilitate the infection of the relevant microorganisms with or by the phage. The conditions may also favour the replication of the phage within its host and/or the subsequent inactivation, lysis or killing thereof.

In a yet further aspect, the invention provides food and stored or packed food treated with a composition of this invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the following figures which show:

Figure 1 : Factory success data: Pectobacterium spp. contamination of tubers is reduced following bacteriophage treatment.

Figure 2: Application of a bacteriophage mix to tubers prior to planting prevents blackleg formation during growth.

Figure 3: reducing seed-derived blackleg with bacteriophage. *: significant reduction compared with positive control (F^ = 39.12 P < 0.001 ,n = 6).

Figure 4: Pectorbacterium loading in stolon end tissue of individual and combined FG 2 Rudolph samples by Q-PCR (copy number/g). Rudolf PB2 seed treated with the eight phage mix of this disclosure at planting. Bacteriophage applied with a hand mister & allowed to dry before planting. Randomised block- 4 blocks, 1 plot of each treatment per block (98 tubers/plot). 3 trials completed. Seed contamination levels measured pre-planting

Figure 5: % Blackleg plants/plot (n=4). Bacteriophage treatment cannot make completely reverse the effects of contaminated seed but can reduce the expression of disease if environmental conditions are suitable. *: significant reduction compared with untreated control (F = 4,68 P = 0.02,n = 4)

Figure 6: PB2 seed (Rudolf) (0% Pba). 4 bacteriophage treatments (control, in furrow (3L product/ha, in 80L, Foliar (3L product/ha, in 200L, applied for 9 weeks from rosette stage) and in furrow & foliar). Randomised block- 4 blocks, 1 plot of each treatment per block with 98 tubers per plot. Infector plants to increase the likelihood of disease symptoms. qPCR analysis on 3 tubers/each of 10 plants/plot. *: significant reduction compared with untreated control (F = 6.35, P < 0.001 , n = 40).

Figure 7: Replanted material from 2017 trial. Data represents observations only - no treatments. 50 tubers were planted per treatment. qPCR analysis on 20 groups of 15 tubers per treatment. *: significant reduction compared with untreated control

(Mann Whitney tests, P < 0.05).

Figure 8: Species distribution of the 248 Pectobacterium species isolated from potato material/potato wash water from The Netherlands and assessed for phage susceptibility in Figure 9: Pcc: Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, Pcbr : Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense and Ppar. Pectobacterium parmentieri. Lytic activity of the eight phage mix and a new 6-phage mix against the isolated Dutch Pectobacterium spp. Figure 10: current UK Bacteriophage mix (the “8 phage mix”) vs new European mix: % coverage of Pectobacterium spp. Selective Bacteriophage Combinations for managing Spoilage Microorganisms of Fresh Produce

Bacteriophage compositions may contain the core bacteriophage composition APSPbl , APSPb2, APSDsl , APSPs Some bacteriophage compositions can contain additional bacteriophages to increase the efficacy of the core bacteriophage composition in certain samples, for example in samples from a range of geographic areas, farms and processing factories as well as samples of different types and/or varieties of food.

Phage (for example bacteriophage) mixtures for use in this invention are selected by their ability to lyse (kill) bacteria isolated from samples (soil, plants, tubers, water) which exhibit rot symptoms.

Bacteriophage compositions may be used to target potato soft rots caused by Pectobacterium & Dickeya spp., and/or in potato processing factories (post-harvest). The bacteriophage compositions could also be used in the field or in potato stores to prevent blackleg/bacterial rots.

Bacteriophage compositions may be used to decontaminate salad produce (including washed and bagged salad leaves) of microorganisms which induce rot, including, for example, rots (such as blackleg) caused by Pseudomonas spp. and Pectobacterium spp.

Indeed, the various phage compositions described herein may be used to decontaminate a wide range of fresh produce of microorganisms which are associated with rot and spoilage. The compositions of this invention which comprise bacteriophage mixtures may have increased activity, when compared to individual bacteriophage. Some bacteriophage may act synergistically.

The compositions of this invention may be provided as liquid formulations comprising buffer(s) and/or salts. The compositions may be diluted for use. Table 2- Composition of exemplar bacteriophage mixtures

Table 3a - Species targeted by each bacteriophage and microbiological deposit information for bacteriophage (and their hosts) employed in the examples and in compositions of this invention.

*AII deposits made with the National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) Ltd., of Ferguson Building, Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9YA. All deposits (NCIMB 42290, NCIMB 42291 , NCIM 42292, NCIMB 42293, NCIMB 42294, NCIMB 42295, NCIMB 42296, NCIMB 42297, NCIMB 42298, NCIMB 42299, NCIMB 42300, NCIMB 42301 , NCIMB 42302, NCIMB 42303, NCIMB 42304 and NCIMB 42305) made 24 th September 2014.

yAII deposits made with the National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) Ltd., of Ferguson Building, Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9YA. All deposits (NCIMB 42519, NCIMB 42520, NCIMB 42521 , NCIM 42522, NCIMB 42523, NCIMB 42524, NCIMB 42525, NCIMB 42526, NCIMB 42527 and NCIMB 42528) made 27 th January 2016.

Table 3b

*AII deposits made with the National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) Ltd., of Ferguson Building, Craibstone Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9YA. All deposits (NCIMB 43321 , NCIM 43323, NCIMB 43325 and NCIMB 43327) made 19 th December 2018. Methods

Bacterial isolation:

Samples (typically wash water from processing factories or rotten tubers/plant material) are processed by producing a homogenous suspension of bacteria in buffer, serially diluting and plating on selective microbiological media (crystal violet pectate medium for Pectobacterium spp. and King’s B medium for Pseudomonas spp.). Liquid samples are diluted directly and solid samples are pulsified in buffer (MRD) before dilution. Bacteria are identified using standard microbiological tests (growth or appearance on selective agar, Gram staining etc.) and confirmed by PCR. Selected bacterial colonies are purified and used for subsequent bacteriophage screening.

Bacteriophage isolation:

A range of environmental samples (inc. soil, water, plant material, digestate from waste processing, sewage, animal stomach contents etc.) were screened for the presence of bacteriophage by enrichment of the environmental samples with the target bacteria in liquid microbiological media. Following enrichment, samples are centrifuged or filtered to remove solid components and bacteria before being spotted against the target bacterial strains. A classic over-lay technique, where the target bacteria are added to a layer of top agar overlaying an agar plate, provides a lawn on which bacteriophage enrichment mixes are spotted and instances of lysis (clearing of the bacteria) can be observed following overnight incubation at room temperature. Enrichment mixes which lyse the target bacteria are selected and individual bacteriophage can be isolated, picking individual plaques in top agar. Examples

Example of tubers of a single variety, from multiple growers

Table 4-Testing of Bacteriophage mixes against Pectobacterium spp. isolated from tubers supplied from multiple growers

Example of different varieties in the same factory

Table 5: Testing of Bacteriophage mixes against Pectobacterium spp. isolated from tubers supplied from a single processing factory and tested against the core or supplemented core bacteriophage mixes

Example of same variety in different locations

Table 6: Testing of Bacteriophage mixes against Pectobacterium spp. isolated from a single variety of tubers supplied from two potato processing factories

Factory success data - Figure 1 Tubers were washed in water and either left with no treatment (wash barrel) or sprayed with a bacteriophage composition APS90 containing core bacteriophage + APSPb3 & APSPb5 at 10 6 pfu/ml. Numbers of Pectobacterium spp. were enumerated from tubers after 5 days storage at room temperature.

Data presented in Figure 1 shows a 654-fold reduction in bacterial numbers in tubers treated with the bacteriophage composition APS90.

Storage trial data

(a) Prevention of rots during storage

Maris Piper tubers were treated with either no treatment, a water or bacteriophage spray (core + APSPb5 at 10 6 pfu/ml). The tubers were assessed for rot development after 1 , 3 and 6 months cold storage at ~2.8°C.

At each assessment tubers were visually inspected for the presence of rots and when found, rotten tubers were removed and planted in glasshouses to determine blackleg levels in daughter plants (see part b). Numbers represent cumulative number of rots identified across all assessment points.

Table 7: Prevention of rots in tubers treated with bacteriophage prior to cold storage.

The number of rotten tubers treated with bacteriophage spray was lower than that of tubers stored without treatment or treated with a water spray. The difference in the number of rots is greater at longer storage times. This indicates that adding bacteriophage to tubers can increase the shelf life of said tubers when they are stored over a period of time.

(b) Prevention of blackleg once planted

Maris Piper tubers were treated with either no treatment, water or bacteriophage (core + APSPb5) spray at 10 6 pfu/ml and stored for 1 , 3 or 6 months at ~2.8°C. Tubers from part a) of the assessment were planted in glasshouses to determine blackleg levels in daughter plants. No effect of the bacteriophage was observed on emergence of the plants but stem number increased with phage treatment. Table 8: Prevention of blackleg by application of bacteriophage mixes to mother tuber prior to cold storage (1, 3 or 6 months pre-planting)

Treatment of seed immediately before planting

Pectobacterium spp. example on tubers

Variety: Desiree were damaged and inoculated with water (negative control) or Pectobacterium spp. (10 6 cfu/ml, all other treatments) to contaminate the seed potatoes. Immediately prior to planting bacteriophage mixes (core + APSPb3, APSPb4 & APSPb5 at 10 6 (Dose 1), 10 7 (Dose 2) or 10 8 (Dose 3) pfu/ml) were sprayed onto tubers and planted.

The number of plants which developed blackleg was assessed following emergence.

Dickeva spp. example on tubers

Tubers (Variety: Desiree) were inoculated with water (negative control) or Dickeya spp. (107 cfu/ml, all other treatments) to contaminate the seed potatoes. Immediately prior to planting, bacteriophage (core APSDsl at 107 cfu/ml) was sprayed onto tubers and the treated tubers were planted. The number of plants which successfully emerged was assessed as a measure of disease prevention.

Selection of a bacteriophage composition suitable for salad processing

Pseudomonas example - salad leaves

Pseudomonas spp. bacteria were isolated from bagged salad samples from a UK salad processor. Bacteriophage were then isolated and tested against these isolates and the proportion of lysis calculated.

Table 9 - Selecting a bacteriophage mix suitable for salad processing.

A proportion of the Pseudomonas bacteria present in bagged salad leaves was lysed by the core bacteriophage APSPs However, adding one additional supplementary bacteriophage (APSPs2, APSPs3, APSPs4 or APSPs5) to the core bacteriophage composition leads to an increase in the efficacy of the treatment, measured in terms of increased % of lysed bacteria. Adding two supplementary bacteriophage to the core simultaneously leads to a greater increase in efficacy (at least for Salad Mix 1 ) compared to the treatment with core alone or core + a single supplementary phage. This indicates that there may be a synergistic effect in the efficacy of bacteriophage mixtures in lysing bacteria when multiple bacteriophage are used concurrently.

Reduction in blackleg symptoms

Reducing seed-derived blackleg with bacteriophage.

6

Figure 3 shows Desiree seed treated damaged & inoculated with Pba (10 cfu/ml) and sprayed (until visibly damp) with bacteriophage the eight phage mix of this disclosure at final

6 7 8

concentrations of 10 , 10 & 10 pfu/ml. Results show a significant reduction in seed-derived blackleg compared with positive control. Thus Blackleg may be reduced if seed is externally contaminated.

Figure 4 shows pectobacterium loading in stolon end tissue of individual and combined FG 2 Rudolph samples by Q-PCR (copy number/g). Rudolf PB2 seed was treated with the eight phage mix at planting. Bacteriophage applied with a hand mister & allowed to dry before planting. Randomised block- 4 blocks, 1 plot of each treatment per block (98 tubers/plot). Seed contamination levels measured pre-planting.

Figure 5 shows that there was a significant reduction in the % blackleg plants/plot and that while Bacteriophage treatment cannot completely reverse the effects of contaminated seed, it can reduce the expression of disease if environmental conditions are suitable.

The data presented in Figures 6 and 7 looks at whether disease counts accurately reflect harvest seed quality. The data shows examples of bacteriophage treatment of potato seed leading to reduced bacterial loading in the progeny tubers over 2 generations: keeping potato seed clean of Pectobacterium (blackleg-causing bacteria) is very important, since very small amounts of disease (<0.5%) means that the crop can be downgraded, which represents a financial loss to the grower. In Figure 6, a potato crop was treated with bacteriophage either at planting (in-furrow) or with a weekly foliar spray or a combination of both treatments in 2016. qPCR on the harvested progeny tubers showed that the“in-furrow” & “in-furrow & foliar” treatment had significantly lower Pectobacterium than the control. These progeny tubers were replanted in 2017 (Figure 7), with no further treatments and less blackleg was seen in all of the treatments using seed from the 2016 phage treatments and in addition, the progeny tubers of the 2017 trial also had lower bacterial loading - i.e. a carry- over effect from the 2016 treatments.

Table 10 (above): current UK bacteriophage mix vs new European mix: % coverage of Pectobacterium spp. UK mix = 8 UK phage mix ( composition comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of:APSPb1 (deposited as NCIMB 42290); APSPb5 (deposited as NCIMB 42292); APSPb2 (deposited as NCIMB 42294); APSPb6 (deposited as NCIMB 42296); APSPb3 (deposited as NCIMB 42298); APSPb4 (deposited as NCIMB 42300); APSPb7 (deposited as NCIMB 42302); and APSDsl (deposited as NCIMB 42304)). New European mix = APS PH9 (Accession no: NCIMB 43321 ; APS PH10 (Accession no: NCIMB 43323; APS PH1 1 (Accession no: NCIMB 43325); APS PH12 (Accession no: NCIMB 43327; APS Ph3 (Accession No: NCIMB 42294); and APS Ph7 (Accession No: NCIMB 42302). Also see Figure 10.




 
Previous Patent: THERMOELECTRIC MODULE

Next Patent: AUTOSTEREOSCOPIC DISPLAY