Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New, More Effective Nisin Antibiotics Combat Superbugs And Food Diseases

Date:
April 4, 2009
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Researchers have used bioengineering to produce a new generation of natural antibiotics that target harmful micro-organisms such as MRSA and the food-borne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes.

Researchers at University College Cork have used bioengineering to produce a new generation of natural antibiotics that target harmful micro-organisms such as MRSA and the food-borne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes.

Related Articles


On March 31, at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate, Dr Field and colleagues explained how by altering different amino acids in nisin, an antimicrobial protein produced naturally by a bacterium called Lactococcus lactis, they had created a family of variants, each slightly different from the naturally occurring protein. These bioengineered nisin variants possessed greater activities than the parent molecule against a range of important clinical pathogens including MRSA, VRE (Vancomycin resistant Enterococci) and the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Nisin is US FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approved and is used as a natural biopreservative in heat-treated and low-pH foods. It has a long record of safe use and is one of only a few such compounds to have been applied commercially.

Antibiotic resistance has become a serious public threat and these enhanced nisin variants could become acceptable alternatives to the range of antimicrobials currently available. For instance, nisin is presently included as the active ingredient in a number of commercial products that are used in the treatment of bovine mastitis. From a veterinary perspective, enhanced nisin derivatives with greater specific activities against the bacteria associated with bovine mastitis are a welcome addition to the current antibiotics used to treat this debilitating and economically costly disease.

Using enhanced nisin variants against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria is particularly significant as this bacterium is among the most naturally nisin resistant pathogens. Listeria monocytogenes usually causes illness in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, babies, the elderly and people with reduced immunity. Among these groups, the illness is often severe and life threatening. The bacterium has been found in a variety of raw foods, such as uncooked meats and vegetables, as well as in processed foods that become contaminated after processing such as soft cheeses and hot dogs.

The economic loss due to recalls of meat and poultry products contaminated with this pathogen is estimated at $1.2–$2.4 billion dollars per year in the United States. In addition, food surveys in the U.S. have estimated the prevalence of L. monocytogenes at 1.6-7.6% in meat, fish, and vegetable products, most of which were RTE (Ready to Eat) foods. In light of this, improved versions of nisin that specifically target Listeria are desirable, and could be a more preferable option than the current form of nisin for some food biopreservation applications.

"For example," said Dr Field, "Nisin has the potential to be a safer alternative due to its high antibacterial activity and nontoxicity to humans. The fact that different nisin derivatives can now be generated to target specific pathogenic organisms makes it even more attractive as a natural and potent antimicrobial for clinical and food use. It may also be possible to reduce the levels of other preservatives such as salt, sugar and certain chemicals often used in high concentrations to inhibit bacterial growth, ultimately leading to not only safe but healthier foods."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "New, More Effective Nisin Antibiotics Combat Superbugs And Food Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330200710.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2009, April 4). New, More Effective Nisin Antibiotics Combat Superbugs And Food Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330200710.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "New, More Effective Nisin Antibiotics Combat Superbugs And Food Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330200710.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins