January 5, 2009
green wash: novel viruses sprayed on food and crops
Bacteriophages are viruses that attack bacteria. They have been compared to “space ships that are able to carry genetic material between susceptible cells and then reproduce in those cells” (Kutter, 1997). Bacteriophages are, in fact, very simple organisms that consist of genetic material (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat, a hollow protein tail and tail fibers". source
" ... recent advances in molecular biology have also allowed for the development of novel phage-derived antimicrobial agents, such as lysins and non-replicative phage-based lethal agents. Much of the research and development of these technologies has been conducted on a small scale, resulting in numerous peer-reviewed publications and patents, but very few commercially available products to date. While the data available on many of these phage-based antimicrobials appears promising on a laboratory or pilot scale, their true efficacy will be explicitly realized once these technologies enter into broad clinical or commercial availability". here
There true "efficacy" may well be "realized", now that this experiment is being conducted in the societial lab with commercial release of several products and this link which also discusses the lack of testing and probable dangers.
Interesting note Bacteriophages "are very useful nano-structure tools".
Phages are also being used to produce nanowires: sensors and chips because of the "excellent template" of phages and their ability to self-replicate rapidly. For a startling article of the advances and commercial releases of novel phages and nanotechnology applications see the PDF Biotechnological Exploit of Bacteriophage Research
A leader in the technology: Wageningen, Food Valley Netherlands:
"Convergence of micro systems, fluidics, functional molecular cell design, and supra-molecular chemistry now brings all food size structures within reach, says Dr. Frans Kampers, director of BioNT (www.biont.wur.nl), the Wageningen, Netherlands-based research center focused on the fundamental science and technology of micro- and nanosystems and their applications in food and health. Kampers is the center’s strategic research coordinator in bio-nanotechnology. His remit encompasses quality assurance through sensing and diagnostics, food design, safety monitoring and control, innovative processing, encapsulation and delivery, and packaging and logistics.
The center’s location in Wageningen is no accident. This area aims to become to the food industry what San Jose, Calif., area is to the semiconductor industry. It’s even referred to as Food Valley (www.foodvalley.nl/english/default.aspx).
EBI Food Safety (www.ebifoodsafety.com), also in Wageningen, has developed the first commercial bacteriophage product, ListexTM, which targets Listeria monocytogenes-pathogenics with a 30% mortality rate. ListexTM was granted the U.S. FDA-GRAS (generally regarded as safe) approval in October 2006; organic EU approval in June 2007, and an extension of GRAS approval from the FDA and USDA for use with all food products susceptible to Listeria" read more