This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Bacteriophages as a Sustainable Food Safety Approach for Vegetable Production in Controlled Environment Agriculture Systems


Vegetables have frequently been contaminated with Salmonella enterica, E. coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes. Food safety concerns have boosted interest in controlled environmental agriculture (CEA) systems, especially as hydroponics and aquaponics have grown in popularity in recent years. Thus, new approaches to control foodborne pathogens are necessary since microorganisms more often become multidrug resistant. Biological control is an example of an alternative to control and prevent microbial contamination in foods. An example of biological control that can be employed against foodborne pathogens is the bacteriophage, which is the most abundant virus on the earth. Phage cocktails might be a suitable target for specific pathogens in aquaponic, hydroponic, and vertical farming systems to reduce crop contamination and prevent foodborne outbreaks. However, at this point, no research has been conducted to investigate the applicability of phage as a biocontrol for foodborne pathogens in recirculating systems to produce vegetables under hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Thus, this project will investigate the efficiency of a phage cocktail to control Salmonella enterica and its applicability in a small-scale setting. Keywords: Salmonella enterica, bacteriophage, aquaponic, hydroponic, vegetables, food safety, water quality.