Transforming the control of mycobacterial infections

Application in veterinary and agriculture sectors

PBD Biotech specialises in novel phage-based diagnostic technology in the field of veterinary diagnostics. The company has proprietary technology which can be used to detect the presence of mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB) and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP; Johne’s disease), which are significant causes of morbidity and loss of productivity in the agricultural industry.

Find out more below about PBD Biotech, our technology and its application or contact us for more information.

Mycobacterial detection service

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Using a proprietary technology we can detect the presence of live mycobacteria in multiple sample types. Using this technology we have developed highly specific and sensitive assays for the cost-effective detection of MAP and bovine tuberculosis in multiple tissue types including blood and milk. These assays are available either as standard laboratory tests (48 hours) or in a simple, single-day, sample-to-result format. The assays have utility in multiple settings including infection control and as part of QA programmes to ensure the absence of infection in non-pasteurised products.

Crucially, the technology distinguishes between viable and non-viable organisms and, unlike tests that monitor an immune response, can therefore reliably differentiate between animals carrying live infectious organisms and those that have been specifically vaccinated.

The technology was originally developed as a commercial product for human TB diagnosis but has now been substantially updated and improved and has clear utility for application in animal settings. In addition, the method can be readily adapted to detect other types of mycobacteria and can be applied to infections in other animal hosts including deer, goats, camelids and exotic species.


The phage-based platform technology has significant application in veterinary, agriculture and potentially in human health sectors.

Infection of livestock with MAP is a significant cause of morbidity and loss of productivity in the agricultural industry. PBD Biotech’s technology has clear utility for detection of both MAP and bovine tuberculosis. Applications are being developed for both the food sector and the agricultural industry, while there are also major opportunities to assist in resolution of the bovine TB problem. In due course the improvements in the new technology may also be applied to further assessement of clinical human TB diagnostics.

The economic cost of bovine tuberculosis

Bovine tuberculosis was once isolated to small pockets of the UK, but it has spread extensively through the country.

According to figures from DEFRA, the number of herd breakdown has doubled every 9 years

In the last decade around 305,000 cattle have been slaughtered across Great Britain

In 2012 in England alone, 5.5 million bovine TB tests were performed, leading to the slaughter of 28,000 cattle with the disease costing the taxpayer £100 million

In the last decade bovine TB has cost the taxpayer £500 million and this figure is expected to rise to £1 billion over the next decade if the disease is left unchecked

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