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J Anim Sci. 2013 Aug;91(8):3930-9. doi: 10.2527/jas.2012-5884. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

Use of phages against antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bovine mastitis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Immunovirology, Department of General Biology, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil.


Bovine mastitis is the primary disease of dairy cattle worldwide and it causes large economic losses. Among several microorganisms that are the causative agents of this disease, Staphylococcus aureus is the most prevalent. Although antibiotic therapy is still the most widely used procedure for the treatment of bovine mastitis, alternative means of treatment are necessary due to the presence of antibiotic residues in milk, which is a growing concern because of its interference with the production of milk derivatives and the selection of resistant bacterial strains. The use of bacteriophages as a tool for the control of pathogens is an alternative treatment to antibiotic therapy. In this work, to obtain phages with the potential for use in phage therapy as a treatment for mastitis, we isolated and identified the bacteria from the milk of mastitis-positive cows. A total of 19% of the animals from small and medium farms of the Zona da Mata Mineira, Brazil, was positive for bovine mastitis, and bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus were the most prevalent pathogens. The majority of the S. aureus isolates tested was resistant to penicillin and ampicillin. In parallel, we isolated 10 bacteriophages able to infect some of these S. aureus isolates. We determined that these phages contained DNA genomes of approximately 175 kb in length, and the protein profiles indicated the presence of 4 major proteins. Electron microscopy revealed that the phages are caudate and belong to the Myoviridae family. The isolates exhibited interesting features for their use in phage therapy such as a high lytic potential, a wide range of hosts, and thermostability, all of which favor their use in the field.

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