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Low-Energy Electron Irradiation (LEEI) for the Generation of Inactivated Bacterial Vaccines

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB,volume 2414)


Vaccines consisting of whole inactivated bacteria (bacterins) are generated by incubation of the pathogen with chemicals. This is a time-consuming procedure which may lead to less immunogenic material, as critical antigenic structures can be altered by chemical modification. A promising alternative approach is low-energy electron irradiation (LEEI). Like other types of ionizing radiation, it mainly acts by destroying nucleic acids but causes less damage to structural components like proteins. As the electrons have a limited penetration depth, LEEI is currently used for sterilization of surfaces. The inactivation of pathogens in liquids requires irradiation of the culture in a thin film to ensure complete penetration. Here, we describe two approaches for the irradiation of bacterial suspensions in a research scale. After confirmation of inactivation, the material can be directly used for vaccination, without any purification steps.

Key words

  • Bacterial inactivation
  • Low-energy electron irradiation
  • LEEI
  • Bacterial vaccine
  • Bacterin
  • Electron beam

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Correspondence to Jasmin Fertey .

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Fertey, J., Standfest, B., Beckmann, J., Thoma, M., Grunwald, T., Ulbert, S. (2022). Low-Energy Electron Irradiation (LEEI) for the Generation of Inactivated Bacterial Vaccines. In: Bidmos, F., Bossé, J., Langford, P. (eds) Bacterial Vaccines. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 2414. Humana, New York, NY.

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