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J Appl Bacteriol. 1994 Aug;77(2):208-14.

Lactoferricin, a new antimicrobial peptide.

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Department of Microbiology, Bristol Royal Infirmary, UK.


Lactoferricin B (LF-B) is a peptide derived from acid-pepsin digestion of bovine lactoferrin, which has antimicrobial properties. In order to assess the antimicrobial spectrum of LF-B and its possible in vivo uses, the minimum inhibitory and microbicidal concentrations of pure lactoferricin B were determined for a range of bacterial species and under varying conditions of growth including growth phase and size of the inoculum, pH and ionic strength of the medium. Lactoferricin B was bactericidal against a wide range of bacteria and Candida albicans. Proteus spp., Pseudomonas cepacia and Serratia spp. were resistant. The bactericidal activity of LF-B was inhibited by increasing ionic strength and bacterial inoculum and at acid pH. The activity of lactoferricin B was completely inhibited by the addition of 5% whole cow's milk and was reduced in the presence of increasing concentrations of mucin. These results indicate the potential of LF-B to reduce the numbers of organisms in a simple medium, but raise doubts about its role in vivo because of its sensitivity to changes in physical variables. It may be that lactoferricin exerts a transient antimicrobial effect at mucosal surfaces.

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