Bacteriophages ("phages") are viruses that infect bacteria. They are potential alternatives to the use of antibiotics, pesticides, and chemical disinfectants and preservatives in agriculture and food production to control bacterial pathogens. Phages are considered safe, cost-effective, and environmentally benign because they occur naturally in the environment and their use could avoid or reduce the use of chemical agents. Several products have been commercialized for use in agriculture and in the food processing industry. But overall, there is little experience with the large-scale use of bacteriophages in Europe and Germany. In addition, many questions concerning their safety assessment with regard to the protection of health, the environment and consumers and their approval are still unresolved.
The aim of the project is to provide a policy-oriented analysis on research, development and application of phages in agriculture and food production as a basis of information and guidance for political mandates and decision makers.
On this basis, the innovation and problem-solving potentials of phages will be evaluated. Innovation policy options for action will be elaborated how a socially desirable support of research and development of phage-based applications in agriculture and food production could be achieved.