Quorum sensing inhibition as promising approach to reduce bacterial disorders


“A healthy gut is key for efficient and sustainable livestock production. It can be supported by phytogenic feed additives’ positive effects due to antioxidant protection, up-regulation of detoxifying genes and inhibition of quorum sensing of pathogenic bacteria”, says Dr Andreas Müller in his presentation at the Universtiy of Applied Sciences Upper Austria.


Keeping in mind the worldwide tendency to ban antibiotic growth promoters in the feed industry and reduce the overall antibiotic treatment, scientists are looking for alternatives to disrupt the pathogenicity of bacteria. Another motivation is the huge economic damage caused by health issues such as necrotic enteritis in poultry or E. coli induced diarrhea in piglets amounting for about 20 billion USD per year.


Promising approach to reduce pathogenicity


“The inhibition of quorum sensing with phytogenic actives is a new and promising approach to maintain and improve animal health”, says Dr Andreas Müller. Quorum sensing is the communication used by many bacteria to recognize if they are in low or high cell density conditions. Depending on their population density bacteria may change their behavior. Important processes often regulated by quorum sensing include for example biofilm formation or pathogenicity.

“Quorum sensing systems are well described for numerous bacteria such as pathogenic strains of E. coli Salmonella and Clostridia and phytogenic actives have been shown to interact with their quorum sensing. This ‘new’ concept can reduce the virulence of some bacterial pathogens and is an important pillar in fighting bacterial disorders in farm animals in the post-antibiotics era.”

Bacteria outnumber the animal’s own cells – it is estimated that trillions of bacteria live inside an animal.

Bacteria have different behaviors for low and high cell density conditions, which is important for regulation of processes such as their pathogenicity For example, E.coli relies on high density conditions to initiate its toxin production.

How can they recognize different conditions? Bacteria communicate with each other via quorum sensing using chemical words (their molecules) as language among the same species, but also with other strains and their hosts.

Collaboration between Delacon and the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria


Dr Andreas Müller was invited as speaker at the event “Industrienah” at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria, a longstanding scientific research partner of Delacon.


For eight years, we are collaborating with them to develop in vitro research. Together we will focus on the research in quorum sensing inhibition.” 

Dr Andreas Müller FH Wels

© Delacon: Research on quorum sensing in animals

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