Common Bacillus Probiotic can Eliminate Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

A Neutrophil White Blood Cell Ingesting MRSA Cells (NIAID)

A breakthrough in the fight against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria that kills tens of thousands of people every year may have been found by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in collaboration with researchers from Mahidol University and Rajamangala University of Technology in Thailand. These scientists found that a common Bacillus probiotic can eliminate Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, including the dangerous Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Bacillus subtilis is known as the hay or grass probiotic and is commonly found on vegetables and added to probiotic supplements. Results of this research were published October 10, 2018, in the Nature International journal of science. 

Antibiotic Resistant Strains of Bacteria

Some very dangerous bacteria that can cause serious infections in people can no longer be treated successfully by antibiotics, as the bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics. One of the most dangerous antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Developing an aggressive MRSA infection that cannot be stopped by antibiotics can lead to very dangerous diseases like pneumonia, sepsis and even death. To learn more about sepsis, commonly called blood poisoning, please see our blog post from September 4, 2018. Some people actually can have these kinds of resistant bacteria living in their noses or guts causing no harm. However, if the skin barrier is broken or the immune system is weakened, these bacteria can form quickly into dangerous colonies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in three people carry Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in their noses and two out of 100 people carry the resistant MRSA strain.

The Study

Participants in the study were 200 people from rural Thailand who were chosen because the researchers thought that they would not be affected by antibiotics or food sterilization like people in more developed urban areas. The researchers examined fecal samples from all of the participants to see if they could find bacteria that would also show an absence of Staphylococcus aureus. They found 101 Bacillus samples, mainly Bacillus subtilis. All strains of Bacillus are bacteria that develop from spores that can survive under harsh conditions. Bacillus spores are usually ingested in a natural way from vegetables and this allows them to grow for a short time in the intestines. The researchers then tested the same 200 people for Staphylococcus in the gut and found 25 who were positive for Staphylococcus aureus in their guts. They also tested them for Staphylococcus aureus in the nose and found 26 positive for Staphylococcus aureus in their noses. Intriguingly, the samples where they had found Bacillus showed no trace of Staphylococcus aureus.


The researchers utilized chromatography and mass spectrometry in order to discover how Bacillus eliminates the growth of Staphylococcus bacteria. They discovered that a certain class of lipopeptides called fengycins was the substance in Bacillus subtilis that eliminated all forms of Staphylococcus aureus, including the dangerous MRSA strain that is resistant to antibiotics.

Mouse Studies

The researchers infected the guts of mice with colonies of Staphylococcus aureus and then fed them Bacillus subtilis spores every two days to copy the effect of a probiotic intake. This completely eliminated the Staphylococcus aureus in the guts of the mice.

Further Research

The scientists are planning more research to verify if a probiotic product that contains only Bacillus subtilus can eliminate  Staphylococcus aureus in humans. If so, this will be quite a breakthrough, as it will be possible to stop the spread of MRSA in hospitals, nursing homes and other crowded places where people pick up this dangerous antibiotic resistant form of Staphylococcus aureus.

Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey

If you or your loved one are in need of short or long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing for wound care after surgery or if you had sepsis, make sure to choose a facility like the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey that is experienced in complex kinds of wound care and also has enough staff on hand to see that you or your loved one get turned often enough not to develop bed and pressure sores. These can get infected and also lead to sepsis. To learn more about wound care please see our blog post from July 4, 2018.

Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation is a 5-star rehabilitation and skilled nursing care facility in scenic Galloway Township, New Jersey surrounded by eight acres of woods and beautiful landscaped gardens.


This research gives hope that this dangerous antibiotic resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may be able to be prevented in hospitals and nursing homes by giving the patients and residents a simple probiotic supplement Bacillus subtilus.

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