Living antibiotic effective against Salmonella

   
   
  Bdellovibriopr
27 Jun 2011 16:09:05.070
Scientists have tested a predatory bacterium — Bdellovibrio — against Salmonella in the guts of live chickens. They found that it significantly reduced the numbers of Salmonella bacteria and, importantly, showed that Bdellovibrio are safe when ingested.

The research, carried out by Professor Liz Sockett’s team in the School of Biology at The University of Nottingham together with Dr Robert Atterbury and Professor Paul Barrow in The University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). It has been published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Researcher Dr Laura Hobley said: “Bdellovibrio has the potential to be used as a living antibiotic against some major human and animal pathogens, such as E.coli and other so-called Gram-negative bacteria.”
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Previous studies have shown that Bdellovibrio is very effective at invading and killing other bacterial cells in a test tube. It looks likely to provide an alternative to antibiotic medicines at a time when bacterial resistance is a significant problem to human and animal health.

Dr Hobley said: “We think that Bdellovibrio could be particularly useful as a topical treatment for wounds or foot rots but we wanted to know what might happen if it is ingested — either deliberately as a treatment, or by accident.”

Salmonella likes to grow in the guts of poultry and other animals and can cause food poisoning in humans. In laboratory experiments Bdellovibrio can kill Salmonella by breaking into the cells and destroying them from the inside. This research shows that it also works inside the gut of a bird and is safe, not harming them or changing their behaviour.

Bdellovibrio reduced the numbers of Salmonella by 90 per cent and the birds remained healthy, grew well, and were generally in good condition.

Dr Hobley said: “We concluded that Bdellovibrio aren’t long lived in the bird guts — they had a strong effect for about 48 hours, which dropped off after this time. If we were to use this method to completely rid the birds of Salmonella, we might have to test a program of multiple dosing. But the point of this study was really to ensure that Bdellovibrio is safe and effective when ingested.”

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive of the BBSRC, said “Once we have understood the fundamental nature of an extraordinary organism such as Bdellovibrio, it makes sense that we should look at potential uses for it. The impact of bacterial infections on human and animal health is significant and since antibiotic resistance is a major issue, alternatives from nature may become increasingly important.”

Notes to editors:

BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences and the largest single public funder of agriculture and food-related research.

Sponsored by Government, BBSRC’s budget for 2011-12 is around £445M which it is investing in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University), Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre, The Genome Analysis Centre, The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh) and Rothamsted Research.

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

For more information see: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

The University of Nottingham
, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news


Story credits

More information is available from Mike Davies, BBSRC External Relations, on +44 (0)1793 414 694, mike.davies@bbscr.ac.uk
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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