Rapid and quantitative automated measurement of bacteriophage activity against cystic fibrosis isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

J Appl Microbiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):631-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04928.x. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Introduction: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen and is the main cause of respiratory infection in cystic fibrosis patients. Most strains prevalent within the UK are resistant to two or more antibiotics leading to the search for new therapeutic strategies including the use of bacteriophages.

Methods and results: The infectivity of four bacteriophages was increased using an enhancement protocol based on the use of pomegranate rind extract. Their efficacy against 14 Ps. aeruginosa strains was measured using a qualitative streak test and a novel quantitative assay based on the Bioscreen C microbial growth analyzer. Streak test analysis illustrated an increase in the lytic activity of enhanced bacteriophages, whereas Bioscreen analysis showed that both enhanced and unenhanced bacteriophages failed to meet acceptable levels of activity in c. 50% of strains tested.

Conclusions: The quantitative Bioscreen C analyzer showed comparable but not identical results in phage activity and identified significant bacterial re-growth by 20 h postinfection.

Significance and impact of the study: With the resurgence of interest in bacteriophage therapy against infectious bacterial diseases, a rapid high throughput quantitative method for screening phage activity and bacterial resistance is required. The use of the Bioscreen C analyzer meets these criteria and was shown to be more stringent than the traditional streak test.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Microbiological Techniques / methods*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / virology*
  • Reproducibility of Results