Inhibition of Antimicrobial-Resistant Escherichia coli Using a Broad Host Range Phage Cocktail Targeting Various Bacterial Phylogenetic Groups

Jinshil Kim, Haejoon Park, Sangryeol Ryu, Byeonghwa Jeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) commensal Escherichia coli is a major reservoir that disseminates antimicrobial resistance to humans through the consumption of contaminated foods, such as retail poultry products. This study aimed to control AMR E. coli on retail chicken using a broad host range phage cocktail. Five phages (JEP1, 4, 6, 7, and 8) were isolated and used to construct a phage cocktail after testing infectivity on 67 AMR E. coli strains isolated from retail chicken. Transmission electron microscopic analysis revealed that the five phages belong to the Myoviridae family. The phage genomes had various sizes ranging from 39 to 170 kb and did not possess any genes associated with antimicrobial resistance and virulence. Interestingly, each phage exhibited different levels of infection against AMR E. coli strains depending on the bacterial phylogenetic group. A phage cocktail consisting of the five phages was able to infect AMR E. coli in various phylogenetic groups and inhibited 91.0% (61/67) of AMR E. coli strains used in this study. Furthermore, the phage cocktail was effective in inhibiting E. coli on chicken at refrigeration temperatures. The treatment of artificially contaminated raw chicken skin with the phage cocktail rapidly reduced the viable counts of AMR E. coli by approximately 3 log units within 3 h, and the reduction was maintained throughout the experiment without developing resistance to phage infection. These results suggest that phages can be used as a biocontrol agent to inhibit AMR commensal E. coli on raw chicken.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number699630
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - Aug 25 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding. JK and HP were supported by the BK21 Plus Program of the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea. BJ was supported by MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Kim, Park, Ryu and Jeon.


  • antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli
  • bacteriophage
  • cocktail
  • phage cocktail
  • raw chicken


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