The Bacterial Ghost platform system: production and applications

Bioeng Bugs. Sep-Oct 2010;1(5):326-36. doi: 10.4161/bbug.1.5.12540.


The Bacterial Ghost (BG) platform technology is an innovative system for vaccine, drug or active substance delivery and for technical applications in white biotechnology. BGs are cell envelopes derived from Gram-negative bacteria. BGs are devoid of all cytoplasmic content but have a preserved cellular morphology including all cell surface structures. Using BGs as delivery vehicles for subunit or DNA-vaccines the particle structure and surface properties of BGs are targeting the carrier itself to primary antigen-presenting cells. Furthermore, BGs exhibit intrinsic adjuvant properties and trigger an enhanced humoral and cellular immune response to the target antigen. Multiple antigens of the native BG envelope and recombinant protein or DNA antigens can be combined in a single type of BG. Antigens can be presented on the inner or outer membrane of the BG as well as in the periplasm that is sealed during BG formation. Drugs or supplements can also be loaded to the internal lumen or periplasmic space of the carrier. BGs are produced by batch fermentation with subsequent product recovery and purification via tangential flow filtration. For safety reasons all residual bacterial DNA is inactivated during the BG production process by the use of staphylococcal nuclease A and/or the treatment with β-propiolactone. After purification BGs can be stored long-term at ambient room temperature as lyophilized product. The production cycle from the inoculation of the pre-culture to the purified BG concentrate ready for lyophilization does not take longer than a day and thus meets modern criteria of rapid vaccine production rather than keeping large stocks of vaccines. The broad spectrum of possible applications in combination with the comparably low production costs make the BG platform technology a safe and sophisticated product for the targeted delivery of vaccines and active agents as well as carrier of immobilized enzymes for applications in white biotechnology.

Keywords: E-mediated lysis; bacterial ghosts; bacterial inactivation; drug carrier; fermentation; tumor treatment; vaccines; white biotechnology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Vectors / chemistry
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Genetic Vectors / immunology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / chemistry
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / immunology
  • Humans
  • Vaccines / genetics*
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Vaccines