Pathogen detection using engineered bacteriophages


Smartt AE, Xu T, Jegier P, Carswell JJ, Blount SA, Sayler GS, Ripp S


Bacteriophages, or phages, are bacterial viruses that can infect a broad or narrow range of host organisms. Knowing the host range of a phage allows it to be exploited in targeting various pathogens. Applying phages for the identification of microorganisms related to food and waterborne pathogens and pathogens of clinical significance to humans and animals has a long history, and there has to some extent been a recent revival in these applications as phages have become more extensively integrated into novel detection, identification, and monitoring technologies. Biotechnological and genetic engineering strategies applied to phages are responsible for some of these new methods, but even natural unmodified phages are widely applicable when paired with appropriate innovative detector platforms. This review highlights the use of phages as pathogen detector interfaces to provide the reader with an up-to-date inventory of phage-based biodetection strategies.

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Smartt AE, Xu T, Jegier P, Carswell JJ, Blount SA, Sayler GS, Ripp S. 2012. Pathogen detection using engineered bacteriophages. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 402:3127-3146.