New Treatments for American Foulbrood: Using the Microbe's Biology Against It


Compounds that can stimulate or inhibit the germination of Paenibacillus larvae.

Inventor Ernesto Abel-Santos:

Expertise includes: Bioorganic Chemistry, Enzymology, Bacterial Spore Germination, Bioterrorism

The Invention

American Foulbrood (AFB), one of the most devastating diseases in honeybees, is caused by vegetative cells of P. larvae. This bacterial disease is a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder as infected broods die at larval stage once they ingest food contaminated with P. larvae spores.

This invention describes materials and methods that can be used to inhibit the germination of these spores and reduce the risk of developing AFB and other P. larvae associated disease. The invention also includes compounds that can stimulate P. larvae spore germination.

Key Benefits

  • Reduces and prevents P. larvae spore germination
  • Viable, non-toxic treatment


  • Beekeeping & Agriculture industry
  • P. larvae associated diseases treatment

Market Opportunity

The beekeeping industry was $778 million in 2022. The market is expected to decrease at a CAGR of 0.5% to $757.2 million in 2027 due to agriculture prices decreasing and consumer demand for honey stabilizing. However, agricultural producers will continue to demand honeybees for pollination services and drive industry performance.

AFB results in multi-million dollar losses to the beekeeping industry as spores are difficult to remove and there is no viable treatment available. Autoclaving and using high concentrations of chemical disinfectants can be effective, but are not practical treatments. The use of antibiotics fail to work on P. larvae spores and could lead to resistant strains. Currently, the main acceptable method to prevent further contamination of spores has been to burn infected colonies and beekeeping equipment. Thus, there is a great need for an alternative method other than burning to reduce and prevent P. larvae spores.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
John Minnick
Business Development Officer
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Ernesto Abel-Santos
Life Science - Agriculture
Life Science - Health
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