Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917-from bench to bedside and back: history of a special Escherichia coli strain with probiotic properties

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2016 Oct;363(19):fnw212. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnw212. Epub 2016 Sep 11.


Among the gram-negative microorganisms with probiotic properties, Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 (briefly EcN) is probably the most intensively investigated bacterial strain today. Since nearly 100 years, the EcN strain is used as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in a licensed medicinal product that is distributed in Germany and several other countries. Over the last few decades, novel probiotic activities have been detected, which taken together are specific of this versatile E. coli strain. This review gives a short overview on the discovery and history of the EcN strain.

Keywords: E. coli Nissle 1917; Escherichia coli; discovery; history; probiotic.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibiosis*
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Germany
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Probiotics* / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics* / history
  • Translational Medical Research / history