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J Gen Microbiol. 1987 May;133(5):1127-35.

Factors influencing the survival and multiplication of bacteriophages in calves and in their environment.

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Institute for Animal Disease Research, Houghton Laboratory, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK.


Seven phages were fairly susceptible in vitro to the lethal effect of acidified whey, more so than the enteropathogenic Escherichia coli strains on which they were active. The low acidity that prevailed in the abomasum contents of calves shortly after a milk feed had little harmful effect on orally administered organisms of these phages; they flooded into the small intestine. The high acidity that prevailed later was lethal to orally administered phage organisms; few entered the small intestine. The lethal effect could be counteracted by giving CaCO3 in the feed. Low concentrations of phage-neutralizing antibodies were found in some serum samples from human beings, cattle and pigs. Antibodies to one of the seven phages were common in the human samples and antibodies to another, phage B44/1, were common in the cattle and pig samples and in bovine colostrum. Phage B44/1 antibodies in a sample of colostral whey were destroyed at pH 3.25 or less. Giving colostrum containing phage B44/1 antibodies with CaCO3 to a calf greatly reduced the numbers of orally administered phage B44/1 organisms in its alimentary tract. Antibodies to another phage were induced in the serum of a calf suffering from E. coli diarrhoea by treating it with that phage. The phages were as susceptible as the E. coli strains to the lethal action of formaldehyde and sodium hypochlorite. In contrast to the E. coli strains, they were almost completely resistant to phenol and chloroxylenol. The in vitro virulence of 21 phages varied according to the temperature at which tests were performed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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