Full survival of Galleria mellonella infected with Staphylococcus aureus after treatment with Nisin Z

Isa Serrano, Dalila Mil-Homens, J. F. Guerreiro, Eva Cunha, SS Costa, Luís Tavares, Manuela Oliveira

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Diabetes mellitus affects nearly 6.4% of the worldwide population, and this number may double by
2030. Up to 25% of diabetic patients may develop diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). Among DFU patients,
80% will suffer lower-limb amputations due to diabetic foot infections (DFIs), which are generally
colonized by polymicrobial biofilms. Staphylococcus aureus is the DFIs’ predominant pathogen,
frequently found together with Pseudomonas aeruginosa in chronic and severe infections. Due to
their high virulence and antibiotic resistant profile, it is crucial to find alternatives to conventional
antibiotics for DFI treatment. Previous studies showed that Nisin Z supplemented with EDTA (0.4%)
had higher antibacterial, antibacteriostatic, and antibiofilm efficiency towards S. aureus and P.
aeruginosa DFI isolates. Therefore, we aimed to confirm these data in a Galleria mellonella model.
G. mellonella wax moth larvae were reared at 25 °C in the dark, and worms of the final- instar larval
stage were selected (10 larvae for each experiment). The larvae were injected with a lethal dose
of each bacterium via the hindmost left proleg. After approximately 1 hour, the larvae were injected
with Nisin Z (200 μg/ml) in the penultimate right proleg. Then, they were kept in Petri dishes and
maintained in the dark at 37 °C for 120 hours. Each larva was scored daily on the G. mellonella
health index: survival, melanization, mobility, and cocoon formation. Experiments were performed
with three independent replicates.
Nisin Z treatment led to 100% survival of the larvae infected with S. aureus but had no antibacterial
activity against P. aeruginosa. Unexpectedly, EDTA supplementation did not increase
antipseudomonal activity. Nisin Z was not cytotoxic to the larvae.
Nisin Z may be used as a complement to conventional antibiotic therapy against S. aureus in DFI.
G. mellonella is a valuable model before proceeding to preclinical studies in mammals.
Congress of Microbiology and Biotechnology 2023
385 MicroBiotec 2023 - Covilhã, Portugal
Authors would like to acknowledge: CIISA—Centro de Investigação Interdisciplinar em Sanidade Animal,
Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal (Project UIDB/00276/2020);
AL4AnimalS-Laboratório Associado para a Ciência Animal e Veterinária (LA/P/0059/2020); iBB Institute for
Bioengineering and Biosciences (UIDB/04565/2020 and UIDP/04565/2020), i4HB Associate Laboratory
Institute for Health and Bioeconomy (LA/P/0140/2020); and GHTM - (UID/04413/2020 and LA-REAL –
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2023
EventCongresso Nacional de Microbiologia e Biotecnologia (MicroBiotec23) - UBI, Covilhã, Portugal
Duration: 7 Dec 20239 Dec 2023


ConferenceCongresso Nacional de Microbiologia e Biotecnologia (MicroBiotec23)
Abbreviated titleMicroBiotec23
Internet address


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