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