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Enviphage - Environmental impacts on bacterial ecology of bacteriophage use in aquaculture
Coordinator - Igor Hernandez
CESAM Responsible researcher - Adelaide Almeida
Programme - LIFE + Environment proposal n° LIFE13 ENV/ES/001048 Environmental impacts on bacterial ecology of bacteriophage use in aquaculture (ENVIPHAGE)
Execution dates - 2014-06-01 - 2017-05-31 (36 Months)
Funding for CESAM - 161.429 €
Total Funding - 820.622 €
Proponent Institution - AZTI
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro

Aquaculture importance is growing and has an evident social and economic impact. Fish farming has inherent problems, like fish and organic material accumulation, which allow fast fish-pathogens spread in the facilities. Many antibacterial strategies have been developed, but few of them are applicable to hatchery and fry rise. The use of antibiotics is strictly controlled and consumers demands products free antibiotics, among the public health problem that can derived from antibiotic resistant bacteria appearance.

Bacteriophages (or phages) are organisms that infect and destroy target bacteria. In last years,

bacteriophages have been postulated as alternative to antibiotics in aquaculture. At low scale, researchers have obtained very promising results, but utilization at industrial scale will require knowing the environmental impact of phages, especially on environmental bacteria ecology. This project trends to solve this gap between lab and industrial scale treatment. Based in genetic technologies, this project will study the effect of bacteriophages on environmental and intestinal bacteria communities. This research is founded by LIFE+ environmental program from the European Commission and will go from 2014 untill 2017. Update information available at

If phagotherapy meets the expectations, farmers would have in his hand a tool capable of removing fish bacteria pathogens without consequences for the environmental microorganism, without impact in fish development and safe for humans. This would greatly reduce their environmental impact, while increasing the profitability of farms to lower the mortality in the early stages of the breeding.

LIFE Enviphage is a collaborative project involving two Spanish research and development centers (AZTI and Biopolis SL) with a group from the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and Aguacircia fish farm (Portugal). With a multidisciplinary approach to the problem, the groups are composed of researchers, technicians, experts in animal health and experts in commercial aquaculture.

Members on this project

CESAM Funding: