Acid-resistant, Thermally Stable Polysaccharide Lyase


A major concern in food production is to avoid contamination with pathogenic bacteria, which can occur at almost any stage of food processing. Common pathogenic bacteria of concern include Campylobacter species, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Various strategies have been explored to reduce pathogenic bacterial load in food products such as the use of dry heat, ultraviolet light, and chemical preservatives, however these strategies generally result in the deterioration of food properties and characteristics. To improve current methods of controlling food pathogens during food processing, Lehigh University has engineered a broad-spectrum polysaccharide hydrolase with anti-biofilm activity against food pathogens. The enzyme inhibits the production of polysaccharides which have been demonstrated to have a role in biofilm formation.


The engineered enzyme depolymerizes the polysaccharides and enhances the susceptibility of bacteria to acetic acid treatment or other bactericidal agents. The enzyme could be used as a biocompatible additive for use as a disinfectant or preservative in a wide range of foods, consumer goods, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.


Competitive Advantages

Enzyme is stable, retains activity under acidic pH and exhibits high solubility Enzyme is active in a broad range of acetic acid concentrations and the range of concentrations overlaps with the concentrations approved by the Food and Drug Administration for decontamination of medical, pharmaceutical, and food processing equipment Enzyme can be produced in a robust, high yield process using a low cost recombinant synthesis process


Lehigh Tech ID # 050114-01



Approximately 48 million people in the United States suffer from foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. The costs of foodborne illnesses are significant with the cost in the United States alone estimated at approximately $78 billion a year. Due to the impacts of foodborne illnesses, the demand in the United States for food safety products is forecast to reach $4.5 billion in 2016.


Lehigh University is looking for a partner for further development and commercialization of this technology through a license. The inventor is available to collaborate with interested companies. Commercial formulations developed from the engineered enzyme for the control and prevention of biofilms associated with pathogenic bacteria could result in a significant market opportunity for interestedcommercial partners.

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 61/992,608 5/13/2014    
For Information, Contact:
Alan Snyder
VP, Research & Grad Programs
Lehigh University
Bryan Berger