Bacillus sphaericus in Probiotic Applications
B. sphaericus is used primarily as a mosquito
larvacide. The larvacide is sold under the
Abbott Laboratories commercial tradename
VectoLex®. It is a naturally-occurring bacteria
found in soil. It also has the characteristic of
being able to survive in water that is rich in
organics. It is currently used to control the
particular strain of mosquito prone to carrying
the West Nile Virus.
The bacteria, when ingested by a mosquito larva,
secretes a binary toxin which causes the larvae
to stop feeding and therefore starve. It has no
known effect on mature adult mosquitoes or their
There are no reports of any ill-effects of
significance from exposure to the Bacillus
sphaericus bacteria in either human or animal
populations. It may cause a skin rash from
prolonged or heavy exposure in some people,
based solely on reported effects of related
Bacillus. Soap and water washing is the
government Department of Health recommended
method of cleansing in the unlikely event of
B. Sphaericus is also used in probiotic
applications, notably as a component of yogurt
starter. It has no ill-effects on humans when
ingested and is considered as a probiotic
ingredient. This relatively little-known
probiotic comprises enzymes, amino acids,
anti-inflammatory compounds and colostrum. (4).
On the other hand, B. sphaericus is not shown in
Bergey's Manual – considered to be the
microbiologist's primary reference – doesn't
show B. sphaericus to have any particular
probiotic properties. It is part of the
probiotic products Microflora, Neoflora and
B. sphaericus is one of approximately 400
bacteria that live in the human digestive tract.
While clinical studies of this particular strain
aren't widespread, it seems to have no
ill-effects and it is classified as
Recently, B. sphaericus has been used in genetic
engineering due to its characteristic of being
unable to use carbon-based sugars. (7)
Of interest is the longevity of the B.
sphaericus strain. In 1995, researcher examining
insects in fossilized amber estimated to be 25
to 40 million years old, successfully recovered
bacterial spores of this specific bacteria.
Subsequent laboratory investigation showed
slight distinctions in the genetic structure of
the recovered bacteria and modern bacteria,
effectively eliminating the possibility of
contamination of the original sample. (8)
With no known cases of ill-effects from this
bacteria and the obvious benefits for human,
insect, and animal populations, B. sphaericus
deserves further investigation, especially as an
active ingredient of human-edible foods,
including yogurts and tofu cultured products. B.
sphaericus is frequently listed with other
bacteria in lists of ingredients for a number of
(4)Manufacturing yogurt and fermented milks By
Ramesh C. Chandan, Feb 2006, pg 312
(5)Nebraska Cultures article referencing
University of Nebraska studies.
(6)PROBIOTICS BALANCE: DIGESTION AND IMPROVE
OVERALL HEALTH By Anthony Cichoke, D.C. ;
Nutrition Science news August 1997-VoI.2, No. 8,
(7)Actividades del Laboratorio de Bacterias
Activities of the Laboratory of Lactic Bacteria
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
(CSIC), Spain. From: The genes encoding
functional components of the phosphoenolpyruvate
phosphotransferase system (HPr,EI) and N-acetyl
glucosamine metabolism form a gene cluster in
Bacillus sphaericus. Microbiology, 149,
1687-1698 (2003) by Alice AF, Pérez-Martínez G,
y Sánchez-Rivas C.
(8)Science News, 20 May 1995, Ancient bacteria
brought back to life by Monastersky, R.
complete description of probiotics, along with
groundbreaking recent clinical research
illustrating the many ways probiotics can
prevent disease, can be found in
Probiotics - Protection Against Infection: Using
Nature's Tiny Warriors To Stem Infection,
This new compendium from one of our own site
contributing authors, Dr. Casey Adams, PhD., takes
the confusion out of selecting and supplementing
with probiotics. Referencing over 500 scientific
studies and reports, and with detailed
instructions on how to make your own probiotic
foods, this book is a must for anyone seeking to
understand the power of probiotics, and improve
their immunity and vitality.
for ordering information.
Discover Which Probiotics Can Help You!
to learn more about this
just released, groundbreaking book.