Next-biotics is Using Engineered Bacteria to Improve Food Production and Medicine

Startup next-biotics is using synthetic biology to drastically enhance bacteriophage stability and efficacy. Engineered biology allows them to efficiently destroy pathogens, enhance animal nutrition and promote animal health in an antibiotic free way.

Their first product will be a feed additive for farmers to enhance animal nutrition and significantly reduce the use of antibiotics.

8 thoughts on “Next-biotics is Using Engineered Bacteria to Improve Food Production and Medicine”

  1. Except that they wouldn’t because their population is actually controlled by key nutrient shortages like iron or phosphorus, as is easily demonstrated by the results of dumping either into the ocean. If it were the bacteriophages, iron fertilization wouldn’t work.

  2. Engineered bacteriophages was used to successfully treat a drug-resistant mycobacterium infection in a 15-year-old girl a few years ago.

    DOI: 10.1038/s41591-019-0437-z

  3. That’s not going to happen because bacteriophages are optimized for attacking bacteria, and animal genetics are radically different, we’re not even in the same phylum. It’s like worrying you might catch verticillium wilt. Only less sensible, because at least plants are eukaryotic like animals.

    Now, if you were concerned about the phages evolving to attack symbiotic gut bacteria used in digestion, THAT would at least be a sensible concern.

  4. How do you prevent the bacteriophages from mutating? The plan is to – presumably – put millions of trillions of bactereriophages in the food of animals. If only a fraction of a fraction have the wrong genome, they might “attack” the animal instead of the bacteria. And these versions would then multiply in the animal causing sickness.

    And what about us humans? How good is it to eat meat that is full of bacteriophages?

  5. George Church’s awesome idea to solve AGW involves the reverse of this, it’s mildly terrifying. His idea is to use synthetic biology to drastically decrease bacteriophage stability and efficacy. If bacteria in the oceans were immune to the ravages of all bacteriophages, their population would massively increase while consuming all the excess CO₂.

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