January 28, 2021


Skretting and Proteon Pharmaceuticals collaborate on phage technology for aquaculture


On January 27, Skretting announced a collaboration with Proteon Pharmaceuticals to co-develop products using bacteriophage technology to support aquaculture farmers as part of a holistic health strategy.

Matthew Tebeau, COO at Proteon Pharmaceuticals says, "Phages are a part of the natural microecosystem. Each target specific bacteria in order to keep the healthy balance in nature. Bacteriophages have been known for over 100 years, however, using phage technology for aquaculture is an exciting development. With Proteon's expertise in phage development and Skretting's expertise in health, we will work together to identify phages that will target specific bacteria, which we hope will significantly reduce these health challenges for farmers."

The project timeline is around four to five years. 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.

Proteon has been developing their phage-based products for over 10 years. They have been tested in Europe and Asia and proven in terms of efficacy and stability.

"Products based on bacteriophages are an effective tool for fighting bacterial diseases in farmed fish and shrimp, as they can eliminate only the specific pathogenic bacteria while not damaging the animal's microbiome," says Truls Dahl, business developer at Skretting.

Additionally, with anti-microbial resistance still looming as a serious threat facing the global population, natural health strategies are increasingly important for food producing industries.

"Having alternatives to antibiotics to support the health of fish and shrimp is a very exciting part of the development," adds Dahl. "Vaccines, antibiotics and indeed phage technologies have been around for a long time, but the use of phages is still quite new for aquaculture."

"It's not every day you introduce a new techonology to improve animal health," says Therese Log Bergjord, Skretting CEO. "This is a milestone, and highlights our commitment to continue to invest in health research for the sustainability of the aquaculture industry as a whole."