The use of bacteriophages to prevent bacterial spoilage of beer
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In the United States, several FDA and USDA-approved phage cocktails are regularly used to limit or eliminate bacterial pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes in foods. Though no phage cocktails have been produced for beer, phages that infect beer spoilage bacteria are readily found in the environment. A phage cocktail could easily be developed through plaque assays, purification, propagation, developed through field testing, then in incorporated into brewing processes. All aspects regarding phage biocontrol in brewing will be reviewed by examining the chemical properties of beer, beer spoilage bacteria, bacteriophage basics, phage-host interactions, and current methods of phage application in the food industry. Furthermore, the advantages and disadvantages of the phage biocontrol strategy will be reviewed. Ideal characteristics for bacteriophages for biocontrol in beer will be discussed along with proposed methods for its implementation into the brewing process.