Our company

Who we are

Bacteriophages used as viral indicators are providing complementary and additional information to that from bacterial indicators, because they are more abundant than bacteria in the environment and usually persist longer. In addition to these advantages, bacteriophages provide information on viral pathogens that are not properly represented in studies of bacterial indicators.

Our kits and products are related to bacteriophages and focus on monitoring water, food and biosolids. The main characteristics of our kits are that they: are easy to use, offer high sensitivity, provide quick results (< 5 hours) and are reliable. Certified reference materials to be used as positive controls are also in our portfolio.

BLUEPHAGE SL is a biotechnology company that provides easy solutions intended to monitor bacteriophages which can act as viral indicators. Our products are guaranteed to be safe and to lead to improvements in the microbiological quality of water, food and biosolids.

BLUEPHAGE is a spin-off of MARS (Microbiologia de l’Aigua Relacionada amb la Salut: Water Microbiology Related to Health): a consolidate research group at the University of Barcelona.

 

Main characteristics

  • Disruptive product
  • Easy to use: no previous steps required and no special equipment
  • High-sensitivity detection → 1 PFU
  • Quick results, in below 5 hours: preliminary results can be obtained in less than 3 hours
  • Reliability: Bluephage CB10 has been demonstrated to provide results equivalent to ISO standardized methods

Our Team

Enric Queralt Creus

CEO and Business Developer is a geologist (UB) with master’s degrees in Water Geology (UPC) and General Management (PDG- EADA) with more than 16 years’ experience working in water sector. Since 2002 he has been the Managing Director of cuadll.org. In parallel, between 2007 and 2013, he was an entrepreneur and CEO of FITA10: a water, geology and natural environment consultancy.

Anicet R. Blanch

His work is focused on development and application in the environment of selective and specific methods for the detection of bacterial species, mainly health-related water microbiology. He also works on the epidemiology and ecology of different bacterial populations. He has participated in nine EU projects since 1989 as a scientist (4), the chief scientist (4) and as the coordinator of the MST project TOFPSW.

Francisco Lucena

Chairman of MARS and has more than 30 years’ experience in basic and applied water microbiology. He has participated in eight EU projects since 1991 with a significant participation in assessing the potential use of phages as model microorganisms and in developing methods for the detection of human viruses and protozoa in sludge and water samples. He was the secretary and a member of the ECOPROGES SL board from 1990 to 2000, a University of Barcelona spin-off.

Joan Jofre

Joan Jofre has more than 35 years’ experience in microbiological research. He has participated in eight EU projects since 1989. He has worked on developing methods for studying the behavior outside the gut of human enteric viruses and on developing methods for detection, characterization and studying ecology outside the gut of bacteriophages that infect enteric bacteria, mainly on bacteriophages infecting Bacteroides fragilis as well as other coliphages.

Susan Feitoza

Barcelona, New York, Lisbon: is an international “connector” linking business, entrepreneurs, academia, associations and institutions in healthcare and medtech. She is strategic business development partner with a combination of business thinking at scale and street smart problem solving. She brings value in business model innovation and she takes business ideas to the next level with a high tolerance for ambiguity and risk. She is our door opener for business between USA and Spain.

Jaume Amat

Jaume Amat is an entrepreneur and has a long track record in start-ups having been directly involved in creating a number of companies in the BioTech and BioMed sector. He is the founder and CEO of Specific Pig SL and Rob Surgical Systems SL. As well as the founder and a board member of Manremyc SL, Aniling SL, and Good Gut SL; and a board member of Vcn Biosciences SL. Furthermore, he was the founder and CEO of Archivel Farma. He graduated in Telecommunications Engineering (URL BCN) has an MBA (IESE Business School) and qualifications in Social Leadership (ESADE), Motivation and Leadership (University of Auckland Business School) and Strategic Negotiations (UPF BCN).

Why bacteriophages

Persistence

  • Bacteriophages tend to persist in the environment and are moderately resistant to natural and anthropogenic stressors. They can only replicate inside susceptible host bacteria. A given phage can only infect certain bacteria to the point that different strains of the same species differ in their susceptibility to phage attack. Bacteriophages like somatic and F- Specific coliphages are very good indicators because they persist usually longer than bacteria in the environment. When there are bacteriophages, other virus can be present in the environment but with lower concentrations. So, monitoring through this viral indicator can prevent some diseases related with other virus.
  • Bifidobacteria present some limitations as indicators because their environmental persistence is shorter than traditional bacterial indicators.
  • Fecal Coliformes have been used historically as a bacteria indicator.
  • Sulfite-reducing clostridia are bacteria with a very high persistence in the environment. So there are bad indicators for a fecal source.

 

Size and presence

  • In general, bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria and are extremely abundant in nature, probably the most abundant life form on Earth. In particular, bacteriophages outnumber bacteria in most habitats studied including microbial communities associated with humans and animals.
  • In a facility with filters, membranes or other technology, monitoring of bacteriophages provides greater safety than that of bacteria, due to their size (phages are smaller than bacteria) and greater abundance.

 

Bacteriophages as a viral indicator

  • Many viruses are present in a fecal contamination, including norovirus, VHA, rotavirus, and adenovirus. It is complicated and expensive to analyze all types of virus, and for this reason it is necessary to select a virus as an indicator that shows the presence of the others. The indicator is good when its presence is higher and it is easier to enumerate than other viruses. Bacteriophages are used as fecal indicators as they mimic enteric viruses better than any other group of indicators since they fulfill these conditions, and show moderate resistance and persistence in the water environment and through wastewater treatment.
  • The appeal of phages as indicators lies in the availability of feasible, fast and cost-effective detection methods, and their abundance in wastewaters of human and animal origin. Moreover, samples can be kept at 4ºC for at least 48 hours without any significant change in the numbers of infectious bacteriophages and small samples can be kept for months at -20ºC or -80ºC after the addition of 10% v/v glycerol.
  • Reference suspensions of bacteriophages needed for quality assurance are easily prepared and conserved. Finally, phenomena such as stress, injury or reactivation that frequently lead to misinterpretation of environmental data derived from bacterial indicators do not affect bacteriophages.
  • The method of detection of infectious bacteriophages is through their effects, mostly lysis, on the host bacteria that they infect.

Our products

The kits can be in the format of Absence/Presence or in the MPN (most probable number) format.

BP10 kit

BP10 kit is a product that allows analysis of somatic coliphages in 4 hours.

BP12 kit

BP12 kit is a product that allows analysis of somatic and F-specific coliphages at same time.

BP14 kit

BP14 kit is a product that allows analysis of F-specific coliphages.