Isolation and characterization of phage specific to E. coli O157:H7

Isolation and characterization of phage specific to E. coli O157:H7

Siti Fariza Juharul Zaman and Yahya Mat Arip*

School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800, Minden, Penang, Malaysia. Email:

Corresponding author:


Phage therapy is not new because it has been practiced since the early 1900s to cure diseases such as shigellosis, typhus and dysentery that caused by bacteria. However, when antibiotics were discovered in 1941, this antibacterial therapy was quickly abandoned by most western scientists. Antibiotic treatment is usually prescribed to treat pathogenic bacteria E. coliO157:H7. However, since 1950s, the widespread resistance to antibiotics has raised public concern on development of alternatives to antibiotics. As a result of this resistance, there becomes a need for an alternative treatment to work synergistically with antibiotic to deal with bacterial infections. This has led to a new approach by the use of bacteriophage which is phage therapy. Once again, this treatment has received attention as an alternative method against bacterial infection. Phage therapy is the treatment on pathogenic bacterial infections by using bacteriophage which capable of invading bacterial cells and disrupting bacterial metabolism before lysing it. Phages are extremely host-specific and the natural enemies of bacteria. It soon becomes clear that there are huge numbers of bacteriophages existed and waiting to be isolated. Phage specific to E. coliO157:H7 was successfully isolated from sewage treatment sample. The appearance of plaques on lawn of E. coliO157:H7 plate indicates phage capabilities to infect and lyses the host cells. The isolated phage was further characterized based on its morphology, genomic profile, physicochemical attributes, and host specificity to assess their potentials to be developed as phage therapy against E. coliO157:H7.

  Keywords: Antibiotics, bacteriophage, bacteria,E. coli