Living Bacteria in Thermoresponsive Gel for Treating Fungal Infections

Maayan Lufton, Or Bustan, Bat hen Eylon, Ella Shtifman-Segal, Tsuf Croitoru-Sadger, Alona Shagan, Ayelet Shabtay-Orbach, Enav Corem-Salkmon, Judith Berman, Abraham Nyska, Boaz Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The leading living bacteria formulations currently available are from a limited list of genera and are generally limited to gastrointestinal tract syndromes. A formulation composed of living Bacillus subtilis incorporated in a thermoresponsive hydrogel that hardens after administration on the skin and continuously produces antifungal agents is described. The ability of the formula to support bacteria growth and its mechanical properties and penetrability through the skin are fine-tuned by varying the ratio between polymer concentrations and bacterial media. The formula penetrates via the stratum corneum and accumulates in the epidermis without penetrating the inner, dermis layer. In vivo results mirror the results seen in vitro: bacillus formulations completely inhibit candida growth, demonstrating clinical effects comparable to those achieved by ketoconazole. LC-MS/MS analysis of the bacterial formulation confirms the presence of surfactin, the most powerful biosurfactant that possesses a broad antifungal activity. This platform may enable rational design of novel formulations composed of secreting bacteria inside a responsive, smart, hydrogel—which is the prerequisite for producing a successful drug delivery system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1801581
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number40
StatePublished - 4 Oct 2018


FundersFunder number
Israeli Science Foundation505/17
Polk foundation
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology


    • bacteria
    • drug delivery
    • fungal infections
    • hydrogels
    • stimuli responsive hydrogels


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