Phage Biotechnology

Phage Biotechnology

The application of bacteriophage to control and detect bacterial pathogens. Our work focusses on all aspects of the application of bacteriophage (viruses that specifically kill bacteria) natural, sustainable control of bacterial pathogens. Specifically their use, as natural biocontrol agents for bacterial pathogens within food production environments and in live animals prior to slaughter, the control of infection in animals as a veterinary therapeutic and in the application of bacteriophage as rapid diagnostic reagents. In addition there is a programme focussing on the exploitation of phage-encoded enzymes.

Phage Biotechnology

Electron Microscope image of bacteriophage D29; a broad host range virus that infects all members of the genus Mycobacterium. This phage has been used to develop a novel, rapid method to detect pathogenic mycobacteria in both clinical and food samples.

Key aims and expertise

Our aim to use our expertise in the biology and genetics of bacteriophage to exploit them for biocontrol, therapeutic and diagnostic applications. The group encompasses staff with a long track record in phage biology with interests in food-borne and veterinary pathogens. We have specific expertise to characterise the action of bacteriophage at molecular and physiological levels, to understand the impact of phage on bacterial population dynamics, in both biotic and abiotic environments. We also have experience of developing novel technologies for detection and eradication of bacteria.

Current projects

Predictive modelling to optimise phage intervention against Campylobacter in poultry (BBSRC).

Rapid detection of Mycobacterial pathogens in veterinary samples

Significant results

  • Cairns BJ, Timms AR, Jansen VAA, Connerton IF, Payne RJH (2009) Quantitative Models of In Vitro Bacteriophage–Host Dynamics and Their Application to Phage Therapy. PLoS Pathog 5(1): e1000253. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000253
  • Connerton PL, Loc Carrillo CM, Swift C, Dillon E, Scott A, Rees CE, Dodd CE, Frost J, Connerton IF. Longitudinal study of Campylobacter jejuni bacteriophages and their hosts from broiler chickens. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 70:3877-83.
  • Swift BM, Denton EJ, Mahendran SA, Huxley JN, Rees CE. Development of a rapid phage-based method for the detection of viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in blood within 48 h. J Microbiol Methods. 2013, 94:175-179.



Phage Biotechnology

The University of Nottingham
B23 Food Sciences, Sutton Bonington Campus
Loughborough, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6167