FOLIUM Science launches rapid lateral flow test for the detection of Salmonella.

New molecular test uses Guided Biotics® technology.

FOLIUM Science will be taking to the stage at the AgriTechE REAP Conference on November 8th to launch the latest of their innovative product range to improve animal health and productivity.

The new product, called SWIFTR, is a lateral flow test for the detection of bacterial infection. The first product in the range will be launched at REAP and is for the rapid detection of Salmonella in poultry production. The time it takes to get the test result and identify an infection is reduced to one hour compared to currently available tests which can take up to five days.

The test is also simple to use and requires no special training or laboratory equipment so that it can be carried out on the farm or where action can quickly be taken to protect the health of the flock and to prevent the spread of infection.

Because SWIFTR is a molecular test that uses advanced molecular biology, it can identify small pieces of genetic material from the pathogenic bacteria that the user is looking for in the sample, even down to individual Salmonella serovars where necessary. This means that the test is extremely accurate.

The extent of the infection can also be quantified so that the appropriate measures can be put in place.

“We know that rapid testing for bacterial infection is the Holy Grail for the food industry” say FOLIUM Science CEO Ed Fuchs “Our first SWIFTR test is for the detection of Salmonella but we are also developing tests for other bacteria such as Enterococcus, Clostridium and E.coli. And whilst poultry production is the first step on the ladder, there are numerous applications in animal farming and across the food industry for a test that is quick, simple, and accurate. We are working with our partners in the poultry industry to roll out the use of SWIFTR in poultry production in early 2024.”

SWIFTR uses the same Guided Biotics® technology that has been developed for FOLIUM Science’s feed additive BiomElix. Next year sees the launch of the first product in Brazil, BiomElix One, a feed additive for poultry that targets all Salmonella serotypes.

FOLIUM Science’s Guided Biotics® are based on CRISPR-Cas technology and have received endorsement from the Brazilian National BioSafety Committee (CTNBio) as a non-GM ‘new-breeding technique’. CRISPR-Cas is a defence system that has evolved in bacteria to protect them against invading viruses. FOLIUM Science is harnessing this natural system to manage and modulate bacteria in the microbiome.

“The launch of SWIFTR perfectly complements our feed additive portfolio” says Ed “Not only can we offer a product that detects the presence of infection, but we use the same proprietary Guided Biotics® technology to create and produce an additive that modulates the microbiome to help control infection in the digestive tract of the animal.”

FOLIUM Science will be attending AgriTechE REAP conference in Cambridge, UK on November 8th. The team will be demonstrating the SWIFTR product at their exhibition stand.

2023 Uncategorized


FOLIUM Science’s technology rebalances microbiome to increase natural competition.

Improving gut health in animal production could significantly boost wellbeing and productivity, according to Edward Fuchs, co-founder of FOLIUM Science. The company has won funding from Innovate UK to extend the application of its Guided Biotics® platform technology to tackle the bacteria responsible for excessive ammonia production in the poultry house. It is the latest in a series of initiatives from FOLIUM Science to tackle major challenges in animal production.

Ed Fuchs says that gut health is key to performance: “Research has shown that even a short exposure to high concentrations of ammonia is harmful, and this gas is produced by enzymes from bacteria residing in the guts of the animals. Our platform technology can modulate the microbiome to reduce ammonia production and improve animal health”.  

The company will be announcing a new development at the Agri-TechE REAP conference ‘Adaptation Through Innovation; Beyond the Comfort Zone’. The conference will explore strategies for creating opportunity from challenge.

Agri-TechE, a membership organisation that supports innovation in agricultural technologies, Director Dr Belinda Clarke comments: “FOLUM Science’s approach is a good example of agri-tech that addresses an unmet need and will quickly provide a return on investment.”

Ammonia in poultry houses is a major challenge. Unused nitrogen in the feed is converted to ammonia by bacteria in the gut. Many of these bacteria – Helicobacter, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella – also cause disease in poultry and humans. FOLIUM Science’s technology is able to selectively target and silence the genes involved in ammonia generation in these bacteria, weakening them so they are less able to colonise the gut and compete with beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.

Ed explains that, critically, the Guided Biotics® process is not removing the bacteria: “Our technology is making these bacteria less aggressive, restoring the balance in the microbiome, and reducing the amount of ammonia produced. The plan for the future is to support the bird’s metabolism in becoming more efficient at repurposing this nitrogen into protein.”

FOLIUM Science has already produced a feed additive that will protect young chicks against common bacterial infections such as Salmonella and E. coli. This was announced at the Agri-TechE REAP conference in 2018 and is to be launched in Brazil next year. It offers good, highly specific, and targeted antimicrobial effects, with none of the bad side effects of an antibiotic. It also has probiotic properties.

Folium Science’s Guided Biotics®, based on CRISPR-Cas technology, have received endorsement from the Brazilian National BioSafety Committee (CTNBio) as a non-GM ‘new-breeding technique’ which is supporting the commercialisation of the company’s first product.

CRISPR-Cas is a defence system that has evolved in bacteria to protect them against invading viruses. FOLIUM Science is harnessing this natural system to manage and modulate bacteria in the microbiome.

Ed is keen for the UK to adopt a similar approach to Brazil, saying it will accelerate the development of new types of solutions.

“We have demonstrated that our Guided Biotics® technology can have multiple benefits in the control of disease and improving performance in the poultry industry.  We would encourage regulators to give overarching approval for the technology platform – the process we are deploying – rather than each output needing separate approvals as it does currently, as this would enable the rapid production of the products that the industry and the environment urgently need.”

FOLIUM Science is to announce its latest project developing new applications of its CRIPSR-Cas portfolio, a rapid lateral flow test for Salmonella, at the Agri-TechE REAP conference on  8th November 2023.


Editing gut bacteria is the next frontier for CRISPR

Editing the genomes of our gut bacteria will “create a whole new field of biology” in the coming decades, a Nobel prize-winning geneticist has said at the opening of a London summit on the future of human genetic engineering.

Jennifer Doudna, from the University of California Berkeley, said that tweaking the DNA of the bacteria that live in our guts has the potential to help us understand and combat many diseases in humans.

Conditions from Alzheimer’s to asthma have been linked to the composition of our microbiome but the population of our gut is difficult to study and treatments designed to alter its composition so far are imprecise and based on taking faecal transplants.

Yet, said Doudna, there was a clear medical and scientific need to control the microbiome. “Microbiomes are increasingly indicated in all sorts of connections to human disease,” she said. “So for example, we know that there’s an important role of the human gut microbiome in diseases that include infections, and even neurodegeneration.”

Doudna helped create the precision editing technology known as Crispr, which has revolutionised the field of genetics, and could, she said, now be applied here too.

Crispr is going to enable not only some exciting individual applications, but really I think it will create a whole new field of biology because it’s going to open the door to understanding how these microbiomes behave in a way that has not previously been possible,” she said.

And not just in human guts. She argued that the technology might also have applications in animals, for instance by creating cows that produce less methane, a greenhouse gas. “In livestock, there is a powerful connection between the microbiome found in the cow rumen and the generation of methane. And surprisingly much of it is actually exhaled from these cows. It leads to about 30 per cent of the global annual emissions of methane,” Doudna said.

The possibilities for understanding and controlling gut bacteria offered by Crispr editing meant we should take it seriously. It was plausible, though, that it would first see genuine success in a different animal. “Having the ability to manipulate the cow rumen microbiome using Crispr would be an extraordinary advance, because we could actually change this in a calf, that would have an altered microbiome over the course of its entire lifetime,” she said.

Preliminary work suggested this was feasible, and had some surprising additional benefits, she said. “It reduces the methane emissions, which is very important. But also, it’s attractive to farmers because it means that there’s more efficient conversion of feed into food.”

Doudna was speaking in an opening video message for the 2023 Human Genome Editing Summit at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Delegates from around the world will consider the scientific, technical and ethical implications of their work. The field has rapidly matured in the past decade, thanks in a large part to Doudna’s technology.

Crispr works like molecular scissors, giving scientists the ability to seek out a strand of DNA, chop it out and replace it. Although editing of genomes was possible before, it was vastly more cumbersome.

Since its development in 2012, Crispr has become a standard laboratory tool, as well as a source of promising therapies. Among the other topics under consideration were the success of Crispr-based treatments to tackle sickle cell anaemia, a crippling genetic blood disorder. Approaches based on gene editing have produced significant success but the cost is prohibitive for much of the world, which is important because the condition is historically most prevalent in equatorial populations.