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Phage Therapy in Aquaculture

In the past few decades, various breeding systems and technologies in aquaculture have been greatly developed, and the prevention and treatment of diseases in such systems have encountered great difficulties. Pathogens spread throughout the water cycle, and antibiotic resistance accumulates and spreads. The host-specific and self-replicating phages have become the best choice for targeted eradication of pathogens in aquaculture. Creative Biolabs currently provides the most comprehensive and reliable phage therapy development services for our customers around the world, to further advance the research and practical application of phage therapy in the aquaculture industry.

Introduction of Phage Therapy in Aquaculture

Phage therapy is widely used in the food industry to combat antibiotic resistance in bacteria, including hatcheries, farms, and ready-to-eat products, but the aquatic environment has long been considered the most suitable natural environment for phages to inhabit and multiply. The multidirectional Brownian motion of the water circulation system can increase the probability of contact between phage particles and their bacterial hosts, and the small size of phages allows them to pass through various types of filters and protective barriers for long-term survival and transmission in various farms. The host specificity, self-replication ability and lethality of specific pathogenic bacterial populations of bacteriophages make them the most effective and promising pathogen inhibitors in aquaculture.

Phage persistence over time in different aquaculture systems.Fig. 1 Phage persistence over time in different aquaculture systems. (Almeida, 2019)


Flavobacterium is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that causes bacterial cold water disease, cotton wool disease, and bacterial gill disease in freshwater fish. These bacteria are widespread in soil and freshwater, and can also grow and infect fish in cultured water circulation systems. At present, there are several phages against Flavobacterium columnar that can survive and spread in circulating water systems and have shown the ability to inhibit Flavobacterium columnar strains.


Vibrio is one of the most common fish pathogens, with infections and even deaths reported every year. After being transferred to humans through fish or seafood products, Vibrio causes diarrhea, gastroenteritis, sepsis, and in severe cases, death. Several phages that specifically infect Vibrio have been characterized and their genomes sequenced, including the large double-stranded DNA phages φGrn1 and φSt2 of the Myoviridae family.

Biochemical process of phage φSt2 infection of Vibrio alginolyticus.Fig. 2 Biochemical process of phage φSt2 infection of Vibrio alginolyticus. (Skliros, 2016)


Aeromonas and Pseudomonas are considered to be among the most important fish pathogens of bacterial fish disease. These aquatic bacteria cause ulcerative diseases including caudal fin rot, bacterial gill rot, bacterial sepsis, and ulcer syndrome. Dozens of specific bacteriophages were isolated and bioinformatically analyzed, and the killing ability of these bacteriophages against Aeromonas or Pseudomonas was also confirmed by experiments.

Other Bacteria

The three most common bacteria identified as fish and seafood pathogens are Aeromonas, Flavobacterium and Vibrio, followed by Edwardsiella, Yersinia, Nephrobacterium, Strep Cocci and Mycobacteria, targeted phage therapy of these bacteria has important economic and biosafety implications. Several well-established phage therapies have been developed to target these pathogens, but there are still some safety concerns before practical use.

Related Services

The unique environment of the aquaculture industry allows a large number of aquatic pathogens to breed and deposit in it, but it also provides a suitable environment for the growth and reproduction of phages. Given the natural disadvantages of antibiotics in aquaculture and the advantages of phage therapy in dealing with aquatic pathogens, Creative Biolabs currently provides reliable novel phage therapy in human health development services, including but not limited to phage isolation, purification, identification and characterization. In addition, we also perform gene sequencing and editing of your phages of interest and conduct a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments to determine the pathogen-killing ability of phages. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information. You can also acquire further information form the links below:


  1. Almeida, G.M.F.; et al. The fate of bacteriophages in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)—towards developing phage therapy for RAS. Antibiotics. 2019, 8: 192.
  2. Skliros, D.; et al. Comparative functional genomic analysis of two Vibrio phages reveals complex metabolic interactions with the host cell. Frontier in Microbiology. 2016, 14(7): 1087.
For Research Use Only. Do NOT use in humans.

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