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Bacteriocins: What Sets SiliCycle’s Probiotic Strains Apart

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Bacteriocins are proteinaceous molecules (composed of amino acids) naturally produced by some strains of bacteria that exhibit a strong inhibitory effect against some other bacteria, including many pathogenic ones. Different bacteria produce different bacteriocins, the latter not all attacking the same pathogens.

Most bacteriocins attack the membranes or cell walls of pathogenic bacteria, creating pores and other alterations that cause the destruction of the bacterial cell.

Nisin chemical structure

Some bacteriocins, like nisin, have a relatively large action spectrum (effective against many Gram+ bacteria), while others, like pediocin PA-1, have a very narrow action spectrum, which means they only target specific bacteria (Listeria genus, for example). It is very important to know that only very few probiotic bacteria can produce bacteriocins, which is not the case for even very well-known and popular probiotic strains available on the market.

As antibiotics use is becoming more and more problematic due to the increase of multi-resistant bacteria occurrence and propagation, bacteriocins offer a very promising natural and effective alternative for the prevention and treatment of various infectious diseases. Moreover, bacteriocins are increasingly grabbing attention in regard of their potential food use. In fact, bacteriocins can greatly extend food shelf life and improve food safety by inhibiting bacteria causing food spoilage and foodborne diseases. They can thus be used as natural preservatives instead of chemical additives in a context of increasing awareness of consumers concerning the importance of consuming natural and healthy foods (which is known as the clean label tendency). To date, two bacteriocins have been commercialized as food preservatives, which are the very bacteriocins produced by SiliCycle’s probiotic strains: nisin and pediocin PA-1.

Bacteriocins can generally be used in two different ways:

Firstly, they can be used as a purified ingredient, which means the bacteriocin, after having been produced by the bacteria, is isolated from the culture media and purified so that it can be used in many different applications.

Secondly, bacteriocins can also be produced in situ by bacteria: instead of directly using the bacteriocin itself, bacteriocin-producing bacteria are used as protective cultures that can grow and produce the desired bacteriocin in different environments (human gut, food matrices, etc.), which is exactly the way bacteriocins act in the context of probiotics.

SiliCycle’s Lactococcus lactis MJC18 can greatly inhibit Listeria in intestinal conditions
by producing its nisin Z bacteriocin (Fernandez & al., 2012)
  • The Lactococcus lactis MJC18 strain produces nisin Z, a 34 amino acids bacteriocin that has a strong inhibitory activity against a wide range of Gram+ foodborne pathogen bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium botulinum, etc.
  • The Pediococcus acidilactici UL5 strain produces pediocin PA-1, a 44 amino acids bacteriocin having a very strong inhibitory activity against the potentially mortal Listeria monocytogenes pathogenic bacteria, responsible for a significant number of foodborne infections each year.
  • Nisin Z and pediocin PA-1 are completely natural and GRAS substances.


In short, SiliCycle’s probiotic strains, in addition to colonizing the gastro-intestinal tract along with other naturally present good bacteria to help maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota, are unique in their production of bacteriocins that directly and effectively fight against pathogens that may have entered the gastro-intestinal tract.


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Note: SiliCycle is not responsible for the regulatory requirements to distribute products in any region of the world. SiliCycle can provide the documentation that will help you in your regulatory process. None of the products listed in this brochure have been submitted nor evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada nor any other regulatory agency.