Submitted to: CSA News
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2006
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Citation: Mclaughlin, M.R., Balaa, M.F., King, R. 2006. Manure microbes attack salmonella. CSA News. 51:6. Technical Abstract: Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in the USDA Waste Management and Forage Research Unit at Mississippi State, MS, working jointly with researchers from Western Kentucky University’s Department of Biology at Bowling Green, KY, collected and partially characterized bacteriophages from swine effluent lagoons. Bacteriophages, or phages, are viruses that attack bacteria. Phages multiply in the bacteria and eventually kill the bacteria by causing the bacterial cells to burst. The ruptured bacteria release multiple copies of new phages that are capable of attacking more bacteria. Most phages only attack specific species and strains of bacteria. This specificity is used in agriculture, medicine and food safety to help identify, track and even treat bacterial infections. From 2002 to 2004 the research team, led by ARS scientist Mike McLaughlin, devised and adapted methods to collect, isolate and identify phages which attack and kill strains of Salmonella. The phages were collected from manure effluent lagoons on swine production farms in Mississippi. The researchers examined the bacterial host specificity of the phages and also classified the phages according to their unique sizes and shapes by electron microscopy. The research is reported in the March-April 2006 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, published jointly by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. Information from the phage study will enable scientists to better understand the microbial ecology of swine manure lagoons. The phages characterized in the study will be used to develop new tools for the identification and control of Salmonella.