AB Agri and Intralytix investigating use of bacteriophages as natural alternative to antibiotics for animal health applications

Peterborough, 30 November 2021

  • Gut health could be boosted without reliance on antibiotics and other medicines
  • Bacteriophages are natural and abundant
  • Exploration aligns with AB Agri’s sustainability agenda for food production

AB Agri has partnered with US biotechnology company Intralytix to explore the use of bacteriophages – the natural viruses of bacteria – in animal feed as an alternative to antibiotics and other drugs.

Both companies believe there is potential to use the abundant probiotic microorganisms to intensify natural processes, thereby tackling bacteria and boosting gut health without the need for broad spectrum antibiotic medication.

The new partnership follows AB Agri’s collaborative research project with the University of Leicester earlier this year, which centred around the delivery of bacteriophages in feed for broiler chickens. The study demonstrated a low dose of bacteriophages reduced targeted pathogenic bacteria levels in chickens to below detection limits; a result that could have far-reaching impact in poultry production and food hygiene. This new partnership between AB Agri and Intralytix is initially investigating one animal health pathogen, with the potential to move on to other targets and indications.

Intralytix Founder and CEO, Dr Alexander Sulakvelidze, said: “Bacteriophages have been around for three billion years and are the most ubiquitous organisms on earth. They are the natural enemies of bacteria and can very effectively kill targeted specific bacteria without affecting anything else, ensuring an unprecedented level of safety for an antimicrobial.”

He added: “At Intralytix we are working with several partners to develop bacteriophage-based products to control bacterial pathogens in environmental, food processing, and clinical settings. We are looking forward to working with AB Agri to see which applications we can work on together to benefit animal nutrition and agriculture more widely.”

AB Agri’s Innovation Director, Dr. Nell Masey O’Neill said: “We need to produce our food in a more sustainable way to meet growing demand and higher standards and are very excited about the opportunities ahead.

“We are at the development stage with the team at Intralytix, researching the efficacy and safety of bacteriophages in animal nutrition. By using naturally occurring bacteriophages we would be building on the existing mode of action in the gut, putting back what should already be present.”

AB Agri is committed to supporting science and innovation as part of its ambition to help responsibly feed the world’s growing population. 

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AB Agri

AB Agri manufactures animal feed, nutrition- and technology-based products and offers data services for the agri-food industry. It operates all along the food industry supply chain. It produces and supplies compound animal feed, feed enzymes, specialised feed ingredients and a range of value-added services to farmers, feed and food manufacturers, processors, and retailers. Associated British Foods is a diversified international food, ingredients, and retail group with sales of £13.9bn and 133,000 employees in 53 countries. It has significant businesses in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Australia. Its aim is to achieve strong, sustainable leadership positions in markets that offer potential for long-term profitable growth. It looks to achieve this through a combination of growth of existing businesses, acquisition of complementary new businesses and achievement of high levels of operating efficiency.


Intralytix, Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, USA. The Company is focused on using its core bacteriophage technology platform for developing and commercializing innovative bacteriophage-based products for food safety, animal health, human therapeutics, oral care, cosmetic, and dietary supplements/probiotic applications. Intralytix was founded in 1998 to address growing problems in the control and treatment of disease-causing bacteria. These problems are presently compounded by the overuse of traditional chemical antibiotics and the lack of new potent antibiotics, and the reluctance of the public to employ new and potentially hazardous chemical agents or solutions born of recombinant technology. Presently, Intralytix has the largest in the World portfolio of FDA-approved commercial phage products for food safety applications and is the largest manufacturer of phage preparations under cGMP standards worldwide. For more information, contact Dr. Alexander Sulakvelidze (410-625-2533 or asulakvelidze@intralytix.com).


Media enquiries contact:
Katie Bramwell, Head of Communications

About AB Agri

AB Agri is a £1.2 billion animal nutrition and agricultural services business, part of Associated British Foods.

It operates across the agri-food supply chain from research to retailer, straddling high performance compound feeds and feed co-products from the food, drink and biofuels industries, feed micro-ingredients, analytical and consultancy services, livestock and poultry marketing.

AB Agri began in 1984, working with British Sugar to take bi-product from sugar factories and convert it into nutritious and cost effective animal feed. The business has rapidly expanded through acquisition, technological expertise, nutritional innovation and market development. AB Agri now employs more than 3,000 people and supplies products and services to farmers, feed and food manufacturers, processors, and retailers selling products in more than 70 countries.


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AB Agri
AB Agri Ltd
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Peterborough, PE2 6FL