Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

A novel approach to eradicate specific bacterial species by the use of lysins;

Posted by Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew UniversityResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Israel

Summary of the technology


The increasing amount of dairy products challenge microbiologists and food engineers to develop solutions for combating bacterial threats, both to ensure product safety as well as increase shelf life. Bacteria such as Bacilli cause major economic damage, as they can withstand extreme temperatures and survive pasteurization. The ability of these bacteria to grow later on at low temperatures is one of the primary reasons for damaging product flavor and causing its spoilage.
Here we propose a novel approach designed to eradicate any required specific bacterial species by the use of lysins; highly evolved hydrolytic enzymes produced by bacteriophages. These proteins are able to directly target peptidoglycan, the main component of the bacterial cell wall and spore shells, resulting in rapid cell lysis and death. While antibiotics often kill bacteria indiscriminately, lysins possess high species specificity, targeting only the desired strain, leaving the commensal bacteria undamaged. Moreover, lysins destroy the peptidoglycan directly, killing both growing and non-growing stationary bacteria. With the use of specific lysins, we are able to target and destroy any given bacterial strain from a mixture of many different bacteria. We demonstrate the use of this strategy and its efficiency, by killing specifically Bacillus subtilis grown in a mixture with other species using a purified lysin. This approach has been developed and utilized successfully in our laboratory for research purposes.
The proposed strategy can be useful for many industrial processes, in which an elimination of a specific bacterium is required, leaving the desired bacteria unaffected. Furthermore, this method is not restricted to a single bacterium, as a cocktail of several lysins can be applied to eradicate various strains concurrently. This approach holds an enormous potential to revolutionize the way we fight bacteria in a safe and specific manner.
Project ID : 23-2016-4288

Description of the technology

Additional information will be provided upon request

Project manager

Amichai Baron
VP, Head of Business Development, Agritech & Envir

Project researchers

Sigal Ben-Yehuda
HUJI, School of Medicine - IMRIC
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Related keywords

  • Agro chemicals
  • Agriculture
  • Technologies for the food industry
  • Food quality and safety
  • Micro- and Nanotechnology related to agrofood
  • Agricultural genetic engineering applications
  • Food and Beverages
  • Agricultural chemicals
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Animal Husbandry and Related Products
  • Food & Nutrition

About Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Technology Transfer Office from Israel

Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. Founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies, Yissum has registered over 8,900 patents covering 2,500 inventions; has licensed out 800 technologies and has spun-off 90 companies. Products that are based on Hebrew University technologies and were commercialized by Yissum generate today over $2 Billion in annual sales.

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