Our biocontrol strategies are aimed at reducing the pathogen load in the food chain and fighting these pathogens if they gain entry into the human GI tract.
Competitive exclusion of gut pathogens
We have identified probiotic strains of lactic acid bacteria that when given to young poultry birds can protect against C. perfingens and is also effective at reducing the levels of Campylobacter jejuni, the most important cause of food poisoning. This strain is now being taken through farm-scale trials.
Novel antimicrobials targeting gut pathogens
Emergence of antibiotic resistance of gut pathogens and the EU ban on the use of antibiotic growth promoters have led to our focus on alternatives.
Our translational research includes:
- Identification and application of novel lantibiotic peptides active against Clostridial gut pathogens
- Phage therapy to combat Clostridum difficile (Bacteriophages battle Superbug 1sr July 2013)
- Exploitation of bacteriophage and their endolysins as anti-infective agents specifically targeting C. difficile and C. perfringens.
- Development of SMART probiotics for delivery of antimicrobials to the gut
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In addition to a large programme of research on lactic acid bacteria we also have a research programme that focusses on bifidobacteria, which is one of the dominant members of the early life (infant) gut microbiota and may have a role in competitive exclusion of gut pathogens in livestock.
Fundamental studies include:
- Functional genomics to identify key determinants of gut colonisation
- Host bacteria interactions to understand the role of the probiotic on host health
- Identification of bifidobacterial species and communities able to control gut infection
Examples of recent academic outputs can be found on our Research Leaders pages.
Project Leaders involved: