Special Issue "Roles and Applications of Phages in the Food Industry and Agriculture"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Cécile Philippe
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Interests: bacteriophage diversity; phage resistance mechanisms; CRISPR-Cas; food microbiology
Dr. Jennifer Mahony
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
APC Microbiome Institute and School of Microbiology, Bioscience Institute, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
Interests: phage–host interactions; food microbiology; functional genomics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Adeline Goulet
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Campus de Luminy, Case 932, CEDEX 09, 13288 Marseille, France
Interests: phage structures; phage-lactic acid bacteria interactions; anti-CRISPR proteins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bacteriophages (or phages) are obligatory parasites of bacterial hosts regardless of their lifestyles and replicating cycles. Although phages are the most diverse and abundant biological entities on the planet, their implications in different ecosystems are, as of yet, poorly defined. Food production and processes are no exception. In ecological niches from raw plants to final products, grey zones remain in phage diversity and its impact on bacterial populations, in particular in region-specific and traditional fermented products including fermented dairy, vegetable and meat products. Temperate or virulent, phages can either be considered beneficial or a threat, depending on their host species and habitat.

The food industry commits significant effort to improve the quality and safety of their products. Many manufacturing processes are critically dependent on the consistent performance of starter cultures or beneficial microorganisms that may contribute to their complex microbiota. In this context, bacteriophages pose an ever-present threat as they possess the potential to destroy the starter cultures or bacteria contributing positively to population dynamics, thereby affecting product quality. Conversely, as natural and specific bacteria killers, phages may be used to increase food safety and quality by limiting the presence of spoilage microorganisms in manufacturing processes or food-borne pathogens in foodstuffs.

Efforts in overcoming the difficulties of the complexity of food matrices, in vivo or field experiments lead to expansion of phage diversity and their exploitation, demonstrating several possible applications for phage-related products across the entire food production chain. Unravelling phage-host interactions is important for the rational development of phage cocktails and phage-based tools such as biosensors or biocontrol agents. In this context, the characterization of viral host-binding machineries and their bacterial receptors, as well as the attack and defence mechanisms are highly valuable.

For this special issue, we invite authors to submit original and unpublished research papers, reviews, or short communications covering different research topics related to the roles or the applications of phages in food processes or agriculture. This may include phage ecology and phage-host interactions in related fields, phage-based biosensors or biocontrol of food-borne pathogens or spoilage bacteria, and exploitation of phage proteins.

Dr. Cécile Philippe
Dr. Jennifer Mahony
Dr. Adeline Goulet
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • bacteriophage ecology
  • bio-control
  • bio-sensors
  • phage endolysin
  • food microbiology
  • phage-host interactions

Published Papers (1 paper)

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A Bacteriophage Cocktail Significantly Reduces Listeria monocytogenes without Deleterious Impact on the Commensal Gut Microbiota under Simulated Gastrointestinal Conditions
Viruses 2022, 14(2), 190; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v14020190 - 19 Jan 2022
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In this study, we examined the effect of a bacteriophage cocktail (tentatively designated as the Foodborne Outbreak Pill (FOP)) on the levels of Listeria monocytogenes in simulated small intestine, large intestine, and Caco-2 model systems. We found that FOP survival during simulated passage [...] Read more.
In this study, we examined the effect of a bacteriophage cocktail (tentatively designated as the Foodborne Outbreak Pill (FOP)) on the levels of Listeria monocytogenes in simulated small intestine, large intestine, and Caco-2 model systems. We found that FOP survival during simulated passage of the upper gastrointestinal was dependent on stomach pH, and that FOP robustly inhibited L. monocytogenes levels with effectiveness comparable to antibiotic treatment (ampicillin) under simulated ilium and colon conditions. The FOP did not inhibit the commensal bacteria, whereas ampicillin treatment led to dysbiosis-like conditions. The FOP was also more effective than an antibiotic in protecting Caco-2 cells from adhesion and invasion by L. monocytogenes (5-log reduction vs. 1-log reduction) while not triggering an inflammatory response. Our data suggested that the FOP may provide a robust protection against L. monocytogenes should the bacterium enter the human gastrointestinal tract (e.g., by consumption of contaminated food), without deleterious impact on the commensal bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles and Applications of Phages in the Food Industry and Agriculture)
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