The South African government and the meat processing industry was in panic earlier this year when an outbreak of listeria was found in processed meats. The outbreak has so far resulted in 180 deaths. The industry was badly shaken and a solution needed quickly to prevent further spread.
At the end of February, Oost NL organized an acquisition trade mission of South African companies. Among the participants in this mission was the Dutch biotechnology company Micreos. Introductions were facilitated by Oost NL between Micreos and their meat processing industry counterparts in South Africa. The motivation for the introduction was to find a solution through Dutch technology for the listeria crisis in South Africa.
A number of companies took advantage of Oost NL’s invitation to visit Food Valley. There they met representatives from Micreos, which is specialized in the production of specific bacteriophages.
A bacteriophage is a virus that parasitizes a bacteria virus by infecting it and reproducing inside it. They are natural ‘killers’ of bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and e-coli. Phages are environmentally friendly and make it possible to forgo the more common chemical interventions for these bacteria, which are harmful to the surroundings, water purification facilities, machinery and the environment in general.
These introductions resulted in a collaboration between Micreos Wageningen and a phages specialist, Phageguard, in Pretoria, South Africa. From there they will work together for a natural intervention into the bacteria crisis. They are expecting a direct, positive impact and improvement in the living and working environment in South Africa.