Suppression of food borne pathogens with microbial biosurfactants


Published: 12Aug2020

Invention 2020-034

Suppression of food borne pathogens with microbial biosurfactants


A bacterial strain which emulsifies pathogens and controls plant diseases with applications in agriculture and food production industries.


Market Need

For many years, farmers and environmental protection agencies have been searching for alternatives to pesticides and other harsh chemicals. Without chemical products, unfortunately, infestations of certain crops with bacterial pathogens can destroy significant value and can even spread illnesses to humans. In recent years, however, microbial biosurfactants have gained increased interest as a promising biopesticide option because of their emulsifying capabilities. Primarily used in microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) and metal detoxification of soil processes, microbial biosurfactants are also known to protect against certain plant pathogens. They have traditionally not been considered as an alternative to pesticides because they cannot be easily produced in commercial quantities. With the drive for more environmentally friendly biopesticides, however, new biosurfactants with strong protective capabilities could be in high demand.


Technology Summary

Previous research has shown microbial biosurfactants to be produced by rhizosphere and plant-associated microbes, as well as to be capable of efficiently protecting crops from certain diseases. To identify unique biosurfactants, scientists at McGill University isolated bacteria with promising attributes from unexplored environments in harsh conditions. After characterizing one of the bacterial strains as the source of a novel biosurfactant, this technology was tested as a protective agent against food borne pathogens and bacterial infection of leafy vegetables. The bacterial strain provided significant reduction of disease causing pathogens on a number of different agricultural foods, making it a potential environmentally friendly biopesticide.



  • Broad inhibition spectrum against diverse human and plant pathogens
  • Biopesticide with the potential to be an alternative to chemicals against bacteria and other plant pathogens
  • Environmentally safe antimicrobial activity
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