APS is developing a pipeline of bacteriophage-based solutions in the agri-tech sector, working with a wide range of partners. A sample of the company’s projects is given below; if you are interested in collaborating with us on a particular project, however challenging, please contact us.
working across the potato supply chain
protecting seed crops
Blackleg disease in potatoes is of significant economic importance across the potato industry but particularly in high-grade seed potato crops, in which blackleg is the greatest cause of seed crop downgrades and rejections. APS is leading a multi-partner project aimed at learning more about the disease and developing a bacteriophage-based solution for the industry. Parallel to this we are working closely with EU regulators to bring a first bacteriophage plant-protection product to market.
"Targeted Innovation in the UK seed-potato industry to improve productivity and quality", funded by Innovate UK.
Tacking storage losses
APS’ Biolyse® mix is currently being investigated to reduce the impact of contamination by bacteria responsible for blackleg and tuber soft rot in seed potato stocks during storage; a critical period for seed crops, that can experience devastating losses.
“Improved seed management to minimise losses due to Pectobacterium species”, led by the James Hutton Institute, funded by AHDB/Scottish Government.
optimised bacteriophage mix
One of the advantages of bacteriophage is their very high specificity, resulting in zero non-target effects. However, this can also be a disadvantage for managing plant pathogens, due to their highly variable nature, related to the environment that they are found in. APS is working with the Northern European potato industry to specifically adapt its Biolyse® mix for these important markets, both in the field and for the packed-potato market.
"Developing bacteriophage mixes to address spoilage and disease in the European potato market, funded by Scottish Enterprise"
developing new market opportunities
Mushroom blotch, caused mainly by Pseudomonas tolaasii is the most important bacterial disease of commercial mushrooms, responsible for industry losses of approximately 10%, equating to £19M p.a. Broad-spectrum antimicrobials are unsuitable since the mushroom-growing media includes many commensal bacteria that are important to initiate mushroom growth. Bacteriophage can specifically target the blotch pathogens, whilst causing no harm to the "good" bacteria. APS is working with Monaghan Mushrooms Ltd. to address this opportunity.
“Combined biocontrol for economically-important diseases of mushrooms”, funded by Innovate UK.
contamination of dried vine fruit
Much of our dried fruit is sun-dried, exposing it to potential contamination by a variety of bacterial pathogens from birds, reptiles and other animals. Whilst occurrences are uncommon, bacteriophage offer a safe, natural way to improve biosecurity in the industry. Working with industry, retailers and bacteriophage experts at the University of Leicester, APS is leading a project aimed at developing an appropriate bacteriophage-based management strategy, addressing issues associated with food quality and safety.
“Bacteriophage management of on-farm Salmonella contamination of vine fruits”, funded by Innovate UK.
Viroplant is a 17-partner international project funded under the H2020 European funding programme, with the aim of reducing pesticide use globally and improving the social acceptance of virus-based biological control agents. The project will apply next-generation sequencing technology with applied biological research to develop new, environmentally-friendly virus-based control strategies against bacterial, fungal and insect-transmitted diseases. APS plays an integral role in the development of bacteriophage mixtures against bacterial diseases of stone-fruit trees, kiwi, bean, tomato and cucumber.