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Therapeutics & Diagnostics 22-029

Antimicrobial phage microgel sprays for bacterial control

Antimicrobial microgel sprays for biocontrol. Photo by Anna Verdillo/McMaster University.

Tech ID



Z. Hosseinidoust
L. Tian

Patent Status

US provisional patent filed

Stage of Research

Proof of principle data available


Amy Hector
Business Development Officer


Bacteriophages (also known as phages) are natural bacterial predators that specifically fight bacteria in nature, without affecting non-bacteria cells. Phage products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for control of dangerous bacterial contaminants such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, or Listeria in food products. However, widespread use is still limited, and this is partly due to the challenges in stability in real-world settings and delivery, which in turn limit the efficacy of the phage products. Thus, there is a need for an effective and stable method of application for phage delivery.

McMaster University researchers have created a biomolecule-friendly, high-throughput method to synthesize sprayable phage microgels that are used as an effective preservation and high-load delivery method for phages to control the growth of microorganisms in food products and other biocontrol scenarios. The phage microgels offer targeted antimicrobial activity and have no impact to the taste, texture, and nutritional quality of food.


  • Prevention of food-borne bacterial infections.
  • Control measure of all stages of food chain from farm to commercial processing to household kitchens.
  • For healthcare and hospital surfaces, e.g., surgery room settings, as a disinfectant.


  • The soft, hydrated structure of the microgels offer the advantage of preservation against desiccation and harsh environments.
  • Safe for humans and environment.
  • Safe to ingest (no need to wash off after decontamination).
  • Suitable for use at all stage of food chain, and for processed and fresh food.
  • The microgels can achieve very high local concentration and each microgel can deliver half a million phages.
  • Suitable for coating on packages, spraying or injection.
  • Microgels offer a higher surface area compared to a bulk gel, thus increasing the contact area between phage and its bacterial host which is expected to increase the antibacterial potency of the microgel over the same weight of bulk hydrogel.


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