Office for Technology Commercialization

Engineered, Inducible, Antimicrobial Probiotic Bacteria

Technology #20120066

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Livestock

Antibiotics are widely used for the treatment of bacterial gastrointestinal (GI) infections in both humans and livestock. Recent reports indicate that large percentages of antibiotics (upwards of 70%) are administered to livestock even in the absence of infection. This continual, subtherapeutic administration of antibiotics to livestock creates a vast potential for the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria that threatens human health.

Antimicrobial Peptides to Fight Livestock Gastrointestinal Infections

A method that does not involve antibiotics has been developed to combat dangerous gastrointestinal infections from pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. This technology involves delivery of probiotics that have been engineered to inducibly express antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) only if and when an infection occurs. The easy to engineer probiotic bacteria are able to withstand the harsh environment of the GI tract and can mass produce the AMPs that target and kill infectious bacteria, when present, within the host's intestinal tract.


  • Provides an effective alternative to antibiotics
  • Different AMPs can be used to target and kill different infectious bacteria
  • AMPs are able to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • Use of AMPs is unlikely to lead to the emergence of resistant bacteria
  • Controlled expression of AMPs allows for AMP expression only when needed to combat an infection
  • Use of probiotic bacteria as a delivery vehicle allows for release of AMPs only at the specific site of infection
  • Probiotic bacteria are naturally occurring, and thus can safely be administered to livestock or humans