Phages vs. Potato Soft Rot

Stephen T. Abedon

Department of Microbiology – The Ohio State University – –


Here’s an interesting news item, from only a couple of years back (April 4, 2013): “Taking a greener approach to managing potato spoilage”

Here are some quotes:

The innovative, eco-friendly product is called Biolyse and works by using naturally-occurring bacteriophage

APS chief executive Dr Alison Blackwell says now the product is proven to work on a large scale in potatoes, there is potential for it to be rolled out to other areas within the food processing industry.

Dundee-based APS has been developing bacteriophage since 2004.

Three years ago, APS received a Scottish Enterprise Research and Development grant and was then able to work closely with a team from Branston’s Abernethy site in Perthshire, Scotland, to identify the bacteria causing rots and develop a suitable bacteriophage.

Biolyse was launched in the Abernethy factory in November 2011 and rolled out across Branston’s other two sites in Lincolnshire and Somerset in 2012. The product is also used by QV Foods and Albert Bartlett.

There is a consistent five to tenfold reduction in rots pre and post bacteriophage treatment.

Installing the application equipment for Biolyse cost about £10,000 and was fairly simple, according to Kevin Imrie, site manager at Abernethy.

Anybody have any idea how this product currently is doing?

Here is APS Biocontrol’s web site:

Further reading:

T4-related bacteriophage LIMEstone isolates for the control of soft rot on potato caused by ‘Dickeya solani’

Phage-Mediated Biocontrol of Plant Pathogens (2001 to “current”)

Phage therapy for plant disease control

Bacteriophage Ecology and Plants



One thought on “Phages vs. Potato Soft Rot

  1. Hi Stephen,
    This is a phage cocktail working against Pectobacterium, a pectolytic bacteria that rots potatoes in storage. So, they harvest potatoes and treat them with the phage mix, which lyses and prevents the bacterial disease. I read data from the company saying that rot failures dropped from 23.2% to 0.8%.
    best regards,


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