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ICAR – CIBA signs MOU with M/s Salem Microbes for the Technology Transfer of ‘Phage Therapy’ for the control of bacterial disease in shrimp hatchery rearing systems. 22nd September 2020


ICAR-CIBA develops indigenous product to curb bacterial disease in shrimp hatcheries

Partners with Salem Microbes to scale up production

At a time when bacterial disease is posing a major threat to shrimp seed production, the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has developed a bacteriophage-based product that is effective in biocontrol of the bacterial diseases in shrimp hatchery settingswhich would help produce quality shrimp seeds, free from antobiotics.

The 'phage prophylaxis and therapy' developed by the research institute is based on bacteriophages which are viruses that kill only specific disease-causing bacteria and act as therapeutic agents in controlling bacterial infections, according to CIBA scientists. Unlike in the case of antibiotics, bacteriophage therapy has no residual issues and has advantages of being specific to their host bacteria without harming other micro-organisms, they said.

Bacterial diseases causing economic loss

“In aquaculture hatcheries, bacterial diseases like vibriosis often cause considerable economic loss to hatchery operators across the globe. CIBA's new product will be of great use in preventing and controlling such diseases in aquaculture especially in shrimp hatcheries”, said Dr S V Alavandi, Principal Scientist and Head of Aquatic Animal Health and Environment Division of CIBA which developed the new-gen technology.

“A broad spectrum of lytic bacteriophages from aquaculture system and coastal ecosystem of India used for the formulation of the product which was proved its efficacy in field evaluation trials”, he said. Bacteriophages and their lytic enzymes are in use for therapy of bacterial infections in human and animals, as biocontrol agents for food protection also as tools in molecular biology.

Referring to the novelty of the technology, CIBA Director Dr K K Vijayan said the product comprises of a 'cocktail of phages' which can neutralise a wide range of pathogenic bacteria-causing diseases and is helpful in replacing the use of antibiotics which, according to him, pose the concern of residues and antimicrobial resistance.

Transfer of technology for commercial production

Aimed at popularising the product through large-scale commercial production and marketing, CIBA signed an MoU with Salem Microbes Private Limited, Salem to transfer the technology to the latter. Dr Vijayan said that industrial partnership is crucial in promoting the technology among the shrimp farming community. The CIBA Director emphasised the need for increased collaboration between research institutions and the industrial players to bring out novel technology to the stakeholders for sustainable development of brackishwater aquaculture in the country. Mr Ramesh Kumar Dhanakoti, CEO of Salem Microbes said his company is keen to partnering with CIBA in scaling up phage technology for the benefit of the aquaculture sector. The company focuses on exploitation of microbes for improved farming productivity and environmental quality.

Dr P K Patil, Principal Scientist, Technology Management Unit of CIBA facilitated the transfer of technology and filing of patent.

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