Bovicins: The Bacteriocins of Streptococci and Their Potential in Methane Mitigation


Bovicin is a type AII lantibiotic, possessing two β-methyllanthionine and a disulfide bridge encoded by bovA gene hitherto unknown a couple of decades ago. Bacteriocins can be useful in directly inhibiting methanogens and/or redirecting H2 to other reductive microorganisms, in particular, propionate producers or reductive acetogens. So far, the role of nisin and bovicin to suppress greenhouse gas (GHG) production under in vitro conditions has been documented. GHG emissions from ruminants are a threat to the environment, because of their role in global warming as well as in climate change. Methane (CH4) produced from livestock farming practices is a potent GHG, comprising 18% of total GHG emissions in the world. Therefore, minimizing enteric CH4 production is quite essential from both the economical livestock production as well as environment perspectives. Strategies for the abatement of CH4 have provided two-way opportunities, viz., improved livestock productivity and reduced GHG emissions. In the past, different strategies have been proposed and tested to mitigate CH4, such as the dietary composition of feeds, ionophores, antibiotics, vaccines, analogues, probiotics, and secondary metabolites of plants and fungi. However, quite a few of these strategies have been adopted at farm level due to their varied effect on animal health and/or residues on animal products. The use of bacteriocins might have potential in inhibiting methanogens in the rumen. A bacteriocin produced by Streptococcus bovis (an isolate from rumen) named bovicin HC5 has been exhibited to decrease CH4 production to an extent of 50%. In this review, authors intend to discuss the sources, structure, biochemical properties, and antimicrobial spectra of bovicins, besides the potential applications with special reference to CH4 mitigation.

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The authors express their sincere gratitude to the Director, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001, India for providing the working facilities.


The author Dr. Anita Kumari Garsa gratefully acknowledges the funding agency, the University Grant Commission (UGC), New Delhi, India for providing financial support in the form of UGC Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Women.

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Garsa, A.K., Choudhury, P.K., Puniya, A.K. et al. Bovicins: The Bacteriocins of Streptococci and Their Potential in Methane Mitigation. Probiotics & Antimicro. Prot. 11, 1403–1413 (2019).

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  • Bovicin
  • Enteric fermentation
  • Rumen bacteria
  • Ruminants
  • Methanogens
  • Methane mitigation
  • Streptococcus bovis