We have partnered with US biotechnology company Intralytix to explore the use of bacteriophages – the natural viruses of bacteria – in animal feed as an alternative to antibiotics and other drugs.
Both companies believe there is potential to use the abundant probiotic microorganisms to intensify natural processes, thereby tackling bacteria and boosting gut health without the need for broad spectrum antibiotic medication.
The new partnership follows our collaborative research project with the University of Leicester earlier this year, which centred around the delivery of bacteriophages in feed for broiler chickens. The study demonstrated a low dose of bacteriophages reduced targeted pathogenic bacteria levels in chickens to below detection limits; a result that could have far-reaching impact in poultry production and food hygiene. This new partnership between AB Agri and Intralytix is initially investigating one animal health pathogen, with the potential to move on to other targets and indications.
Intralytix Founder and CEO, Dr Alexander Sulakvelidze, said: “Bacteriophages have been around for three billion years and are the most ubiquitous organisms on earth. They are the natural enemies of bacteria and can very effectively kill targeted specific bacteria without affecting anything else, ensuring an unprecedented level of safety for an antimicrobial.”
He added: “At Intralytix we are working with several partners to develop bacteriophage-based products to control bacterial pathogens in environmental, food processing, and clinical settings. We are looking forward to working with AB Agri to see which applications we can work on together to benefit animal nutrition and agriculture more widely.”
AB Agri’s Innovation Director, Dr. Nell Masey O’Neill said: “We need to produce our food in a more sustainable way to meet growing demand and higher standards and are very excited about the opportunities ahead.
“We are at the development stage with the team at Intralytix, researching the efficacy and safety of bacteriophages in animal nutrition. By using naturally occurring bacteriophages we would be building on the existing mode of action in the gut, putting back what should already be present.”
AB Agri is committed to supporting science and innovation as part of its ambition to help responsibly feed the world’s growing population.