We propose to develop and produce a formulation, based on the antimicrobial peptide nisin, that is safe for use on human skin and rapidly bactericidal for vegetative cells and spores of the microbial pathogen Bacillus anthracis, the agent responsible for anthrax. The final product is intended for topical use as a decontaminant and disinfectant by military personnel, civilian victims, first-responders, and medical personnel exposed to B. anthracis in a biowarfare or bioterrorism attack. The project will build on the existing knowledge and technology surrounding nisin and its applications in the food industry to control food-spoilage organisms, including the outgrowth of spores of Bacillus spp. and Clostridium spp. and in the veterinary field as a topical sanitizer targeting Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens. Formulation development will combine nisin with chelators, non-ionic surfactants, and essential oils that have been shown to enhance nisin activity against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including spores. Prototype formulations tested will include lotions, moist wipes, and creams. Testing will be conducted in the presence and absence of serum, using in vitro assays and in vivo animal topical infection models. The final product is intended to minimize the danger for those exposed to B. anthracis and should also be effective for disinfection of other bioterrorism agents and for nosocomial pathogens in the healthcare setting. ? ?