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1.  Pseudomonas fluorescens biofilms subjected to phage phiIBB-PF7A 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:79.
Background
Pseudomonas fluorescens is an important food spoilage organism, usually found in the form of biofilms. Bacterial biofilms are inherently resistant to a variety of antimicrobial agents, therefore alternative methods to biofilm control, such as bacteriophages (phages) have been suggested. Phage behavior on biofilms is still poorly investigated and needs further understanding. Here we describe the application of phage ϕIBB-PF7, a newly isolated phage, to control P. fluorescens biofilms. The biofilms were formed under static or dynamic conditions and with or without renewal of medium.
Results
Conditions for biofilm formation influenced the feature of the biofilm and the morphology of P. fluorescens. Biomass removal due to phage activity varied between 63 and 91% depending on the biofilm age and the conditions under which the biofilm had been formed and phages applied. Removal of the biofilm by phage treatment was faster in younger biofilms, but the same number of surviving cells was detected in all tested biofilms, after only 4 h of treatment, even in older biofilms. Under static conditions, a 3 log higher number of phage progeny remained either inside the biofilm matrix or attached to the substratum surface than under dynamic conditions, pointing to the importance of experimental conditions for the efficacy of phage entrapment into the biofilm.
Conclusion
Phage ϕIBB-PF7A is highly efficient in removing P. fluorescens biofilms within a short time interval. The conditions of biofilm formation and applied during phage infection are critical for the efficacy of the sanitation process. The integration of phages into the biofilm matrix and their entrapment to the surface may be further beneficial factors when phage treatment is considered alone or in addition to chemical biocides in industrial environments where P. fluorescens causes serious spoilage.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-8-79
PMCID: PMC2584026  PMID: 18954451
2.  Isolation and characterization of a T7-like lytic phage for Pseudomonas fluorescens 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:80.
Background
Despite the proven relevance of Pseudomonas fluorescens as a spoilage microorganism in milk, fresh meats and refrigerated food products and the recognized potential of bacteriophages as sanitation agents, so far no phages specific for P. fluorescens isolates from dairy industry have been closely characterized in view of their lytic efficiency. Here we describe the isolation and characterization of a lytic phage capable to infect a variety of P. fluorescens strains isolated from Portuguese and United States dairy industries.
Results
Several phages were isolated which showed a different host spectrum and efficiency of lysis. One of the phages, phage ϕIBB-PF7A, was studied in detail due to its efficient lysis of a wide spectrum of P. fluorescens strains and ribotypes. Phage ϕIBB-PF7A with a head diameter of about 63 nm and a tail size of about 13 × 8 nm belongs morphologically to the Podoviridae family and resembles a typical T7-like phage, as analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The phage growth cycle with a detected latent period of 15 min, an eclipse period of 10 min, a burst size of 153 plaque forming units per infected cell, its genome size of approximately 42 kbp, and the size and N-terminal sequence of one of the protein bands, which gave similarity to the major capsid protein 10A, are consistent with this classification.
Conclusion
The isolated T7-like phage, phage ϕIBB-PF7A, is fast and efficient in lysing different P. fluorescens strains and may be a good candidate to be used as a sanitation agent to control the prevalence of spoilage causing P. fluorescens strains in dairy and food related environments.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-8-80
PMCID: PMC2582237  PMID: 18954452
3.  Improved production of human type II procollagen in the yeast Pichia pastoris in shake flasks by a wireless-controlled fed-batch system 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:33.
Background
Here we describe a new technical solution for optimization of Pichia pastoris shake flask cultures with the example of production of stable human type II collagen. Production of recombinant proteins in P. pastoris is usually performed by controlling gene expression with the strong AOX1 promoter, which is induced by addition of methanol. Optimization of processes using the AOX1 promoter in P. pastoris is generally done in bioreactors by fed-batch fermentation with a controlled continuous addition of methanol for avoiding methanol toxification and carbon/energy starvation. The development of feeding protocols and the study of AOX1-controlled recombinant protein production have been largely made in shake flasks, although shake flasks have very limited possibilities for measurement and control.
Results
By applying on-line pO2 monitoring we demonstrate that the widely used pulse feeding of methanol results in long phases of methanol exhaustion and consequently low expression of AOX1 controlled genes. Furthermore, we provide a solution to apply the fed-batch strategy in shake flasks. The presented solution applies a wireless feeding unit which can be flexibly positioned and allows the use of computer-controlled feeding profiles.
By using the human collagen II as an example we show that a quasi-continuous feeding profile, being the simplest way of a fed-batch fermentation, results in a higher production level of human collagen II. Moreover, the product has a higher proteolytic stability compared to control cultures due to the increased expression of human collagen prolyl 4-hydroxylase as monitored by mRNA and protein levels.
Conclusion
The recommended standard protocol for methanol addition in shake flasks using pulse feeding is non-optimal and leads to repeated long phases of methanol starvation. The problem can be solved by applying the fed-batch technology. The presented wireless feeding unit, together with an on-line monitoring system offers a flexible, simple, and low-cost solution for initial optimization of the production in shake flasks which can be performed in parallel. By this way the fed-batch strategy can be applied from the early screening steps also in laboratories which do not have access to high-cost and complicated bioreactor systems.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-8-33
PMCID: PMC2315644  PMID: 18371201
4.  Effective inhibition of lytic development of bacteriophages λ, P1 and T4 by starvation of their host, Escherichia coli 
BMC Biotechnology  2007;7:13.
Background
Bacteriophage infections of bacterial cultures cause serious problems in genetic engineering and biotechnology. They are dangerous not only because of direct effects on the currently infected cultures, i.e. their devastation, but also due to a high probability of spreading the phage progeny throughout a whole laboratory or plant, which causes a real danger for further cultivations. Therefore, a simple method for quick inhibition of phage development after detection of bacterial culture infection should be very useful.
Results
Here, we demonstrate that depletion of a carbon source from the culture medium, which provokes starvation of bacterial cells, results in rapid inhibition of lytic development of three Escherichia coli phages, λ, P1 and T4. Since the effect was similar for three different phages, it seems that it may be a general phenomenon. Moreover, similar effects were observed in flask cultures and in chemostats.
Conclusion
Bacteriophage lytic development can be inhibited efficiently by carbon source limitation in bacterial cultures. Thus, if bacteriophage contamination is detected, starvation procedures may be recommended to alleviate deleterious effects of phage infection on the culture. We believe that this strategy, in combination with the use of automated and sensitive bacteriophage biosensors, may be employed in the fermentation laboratory practice to control phage outbreaks in bioprocesses more effectively.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-7-13
PMCID: PMC1820593  PMID: 17324284

Results 1-4 (4)