Feed giant Skretting is working with Polish-based Proteon Pharmaceuticals to develop aquafeed solution that will help protect fish from harmful bacteria.
The strategic partnership involves collaboration on finding ways to use “phages”, commonly occurring viruses that attack bacteria. The two companies will work in a parallel R&D pipeline on the project, first targeting pathogenic Vibrio bacteria which represents a threat to fish health.
In the initial phases of the project, Skretting will isolate the most prevalent specific strains of bacteria, while Proteon will determine the most effective complementary groups of phages. Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) researchers will then examine the efficacy of the phages during challenge trials. The project is expected to take four to five years.
Proteon Pharmaceuticals has been developing phage-based products for more than 10 years. Jarosław Dastych, the company’s CEO, said: “Phages are a part of the natural microecosystem. Each phage targets specific bacteria in order to keep the healthy balance in nature. They have been known for over 100 years, however, using phage technology for aquaculture is an exciting development. I am convinced that phage-based products will have a positive impact on sustainable and environmentally friendly aquaculture.”
Truls Dahl, Business Developer at Skretting, said: “Having alternatives to antibiotics to support the health of fish and shrimp is a very exciting part of the development. Vaccines, antibiotics and indeed phage technologies have been around for a long time, but the use of phages is still quite new for aquaculture.”