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Lytic bacteriophages as substitutes for antibiotics used as growth promoters in commercial pig production

Grant number: 20/05759-9
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: August 01, 2021 - July 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Flávio de Oliveira Francisco
Grantee:Flávio de Oliveira Francisco
Host Company:Genobiomas Biotecnologia Ltda
CNAE: Criação de suínos
Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: São Paulo
Associated researchers:Alan Trindade Branco ; Henrique Meiroz de Souza Almeida ; Lúcio Francelino Araújo
Associated scholarship(s):21/09263-0 - Lytic bacteriophages as substitutes for antibiotics used as growth promoters in commercial pig production, BP.PIPE


Agribusiness is an important part of the Brazilian economy. Among the various activities encompassed by this sector, pig farming is one of the most important, moving around R$ 150 billion per year. Brazil is the fourth largest pork producer in the world, exporting to more than 70 countries, and with the potential for further growth. In order to detect the main problems and concerns of this activity, we interviewed more than 100 people involved in the pig production chain, as part of the activities of FAPESP's 8th PIPE High-Tech Entrepreneurial Training. We realized that the Brazilian pig industry has two main problems: i) high production cost, whose main factor (87%) is due to the cost of nutrition. In order to reduce this cost, our startup, GenoBiomas Biotecnologia, has been working to identify a microbial consortium that increases the nutrient absorption; ii) the withdrawal of antibiotics added to the feed as growth promoters, stimulated by the increase in the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and by consumers who seek a product without these compounds. This withdrawal has already occurred in some countries and will also occur in Brazil. Although the uncontrolled use of antibiotics is a procedure that has a negative impact on public health, their withdrawal makes animals more susceptible to bacterial infections and affects meat production. To meet this market demand, GenoBiomas Biotechnologia aims to find a natural and alternative product for the control of swine pathogenic bacteria. The most promising alternative is the use of bacteriophages, highly specific natural parasites that infect and destroy only the target bacteria. Bacteriophages are found abundantly in nature and are completely harmless to humans, animals, plants and the environment. In this way, our company intends to isolate specific bacteriophages from nature to combat the species Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp., which are bacteria that cause diseases that generate great economic losses to swine farming worldwide. It is estimated that the national market of antibiotics for pigs moves more than R$ 150 million per year. Therefore, products of natural origin and of the same or better efficacy than antibiotics will have a high commercial value. In addition, it will also have positive impacts on public health, the environment and meat quality, adding greater value to the Brazilian product. (AU)

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