A novel bacteriocin appears promising as a new treatment option for antibiotic-resistant Listeria monocytogenes infection just as a multistate outbreak of the foodborne bacteria has claimed 2 lives in the United States.
With a fatality rate that can reach as high as 30%, L monocytogenes is considered a pressing public health threat that can have a serious impact on immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women, newborn children, and the elderly.
Because of its high mortality rate and increasing resistance to currently available antibiotics, treating L monocytogenes is becoming more and more challenging. But investigators with RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have discovered a promising new treatment in the form of a bacteriocin produced by Lactobacillus plantarum B21. The research team presented their findings at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance.
Investigators played with multiple culture conditions to find a set that would foster high bacterial growth and/or high bacteriocin production. They also used gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC‐MS)-based metabolomics to evaluate cellular and functional behavior of L plantarum B21. The structure of bacteriocin was analyzed using 2‐dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). In order to assess the effectiveness of bacteriocin against a range of target strains of bacteria, the team relied on well diffusion assays and electron microscopy.