The case for plant-made veterinary immunotherapeutics

Biotechnol Adv. 2016 Sep-Oct;34(5):597-604. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2016.02.007. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


The excessive use of antibiotics in food animal production has contributed to resistance in pathogenic bacteria, thereby triggering regulations and consumer demands to limit their use. Alternatives for disease control are therefore required that are cost-effective and compatible with intensive production. While vaccines are widely used and effective, they are available against a minority of animal diseases, and development of novel vaccines and other immunotherapeutics is therefore needed. Production of such proteins recombinantly in plants can provide products that are effective and safe, can be orally administered with minimal processing, and are easily scalable with a relatively low capital investment. The present report thus advocates the use of plants for producing vaccines and antibodies to protect farm animals from diseases that have thus far been managed with antibiotics; and highlights recent advances in product efficacy, competitiveness, and regulatory approval.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Antibody; Immunotherapeutic; Livestock production; Molecular farming; Plant biotechnology; Recombinant protein; Veterinary vaccine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / immunology
  • Animal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Biotechnology
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Livestock
  • Molecular Farming*
  • Plants* / genetics
  • Plants* / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins* / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins* / metabolism
  • Veterinary Medicine*


  • Recombinant Proteins