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Biography

Andre Senecal received a BA in Biology from Assumption College; a MS in Biological Sciences from Long Island University; and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Rhode Island.  He presently serves as the scientific technical advisor for the Food Protection and Innovative Packaging Team, at the Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center.  In his 29 years at Natick, he has been as a senior research food technologist with responsibilities for advancing military field ration quality, stability, performance, and food safety.  Presently, he is the lead scientist for researching technologies for improving military food safety and detection.  He is a member of the Department of Defense Veterinary Services Activity, Office of the Surgeon General Food Risk Evaluation Committee and Laboratory Working Group where he serves as a technical consultant for food sampling protocols and detection technologies

Abstract

Foodborne outbreaks involving fresh produce, generally procured locally, is a concern to the United States Military deployed worldwide to countries that lack food sanitation standards and enforcement resulting in an increase potential for food-borne disease outbreaks. Novel natural strategies to eliminate food pathogens on fresh produce are a need for both military and civilian use. An old anti-pathogen technology that has recently emerged as a novel, natural method for improving produce safety is bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are naturally occurring predators of bacteria that reduce the levels of their specifically-targeted pathogenic bacteria. The Army has worked with industry to develop a series of lytic bacteriophage cocktails specific against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Shigella. Because phage do not kill 100% of their host, methods were developed where phage was combined with commercial wash treatments to increase the effectiveness of these washes especially in the presences of elevated organic materials. Presently bacteriophage are sold as concentrated, aqueous, phage preparations that must be stored refrigerated (2-8°C) and diluted with clean water prior to application. Due to the cost of shipping liquid products around the world, the Army recently has investigated strategies for drying and increasing the shelf-life of phage cocktails at room temperature. Electrospinning and freeze drying studies with different excipients were conducted and demonstrated potential promise for storing phage at room temperature for extended periods.

Fig. Effect of temperature (20°C, 4°C,-20°C) on bacteriophage viability after 8 weeks of storage at 1% RH.  All data points are calculated mean values (n=6) with error bars representing the standard deviations.