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Leading the fight against food poisoning

University of Nottingham experts have joined forces with Canadian biotech company GangaGen Life Sciences Inc to develop new weapons in the fight against food poisoning.

They are engaging in a major research project to develop methods for the control of Campylobacter the commonest cause of infectious bacterial intestinal disease in England and Wales, according to the Health Protection Agency. Campylobacters are found in poultry and other animals and cause millions of cases of food poisoning worldwide.

The researchers intend to develop bacteriophage-based treatments for the control of Campylobacter. Bacteriophages the term literally means bacterium-eater are naturally occurring agents that target and destroy bacteria with a high degree of efficiency, and do so selectively and specifically, without affecting beneficial bacteria or gut cells. The term is commonly used in its shortened form, phage.

Both GangaGen and The University of Nottingham are leaders in bacteriophage research and view the technology as a vital breakthrough in the control of bacterial contamination and associated health risks. The research agreement, announced today [May 22], will mean they pool their resources for at least three years to develop new treatments.

Ian Connerton, Northern Foods Professor of Food Safety at The University of Nottingham, said: "We are excited to be working with a company like GangaGen that is at the forefront of phage technology development.

"Our teams research has demonstrated that certain phages specific for Campylobacter can significantly reduce the load of the bacteria carried by poultry. By implication, this should also reduce the risk to consumers by decreasing bacterial contamination of meat that is prevalent in poultry processing and is transferred to chicken meat on grocery shelves."

GangaGen and The University of Nottingham are building a business relationship to commercialise phage technology
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Contact: Ian Connerton
ian.connerton@nottingham.ac.uk
University of Nottingham
23-May-2007


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