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Phage therapy - a new technology to depurate shellfish - Depurofago
Coordinator - Adelaide Almeida
Programme - PROMAR
Execution dates - 2011-07-01 - 2015-05-30 (47 Months)
Funding Entity - Fundo Europeu das Pescas (FEP). Programa Operacional de Pescas 2007-2013: Projectos-piloto, Portugal (2011-2013).
Funding for CESAM - 273135 €
Total Funding - 273135 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro

The objective of this project is to develop an efficient procedure to decontaminate shellfish, using a combination of two techniques, phage therapy and depuration. This choice is based in the fact that bivalves are implied in many infectious diseases, not only due to their feeding by filtration, but also due to the consumption of raw or badly processed bivalves. Another important aspect is the fact that is the increasing importance of the world-wide aquiculture as compensation of the gradual reduction of the natural populations of bivalves. Unhappily, their culture is made many times in waters contaminated by pathogenic microorganisms, including the multi-resistant bacteria that easily are transmitted to bivalves, which imply the frequent need to proceed to their decontamination through depuration. To develop this procedure, the main pathogenic bacteria accumulated in the interior of two economically important species of bivalves (clams and mussels) will be quantified and identified and, later, used to select the most adequate phages for bacterial inactivation. The interaction among pathogenic bacteria, phages and environmental factors will be studied, in pilot depurators, in order to develop a protocol of phage therapy/purification adjusted for the decontamination of bivalves. The results will provide information on the viability of the use of phages for control pathogenic bacteria of bivalves during the depuration. The possibility of inactive these bacteria with phages without any risk for bivalves and for the environment, becomes the decontamination more efficient and safe, reducing the depuration time, and preventing the transmission of these infectious agents. The low cost of the phage production and the reduction of the depuration time, add value to this new technology becoming it attractive for companies and operators of the area.

Members on this project

CESAM Funding: