John Tagg

Affiliation: Professor Emeritus, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Short Biography:

First trained in Melbourne, followed by post-doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota.  From 1975, taught and researched in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Otago University. Principal Scientific Consultant and Founding Scientist to BLIS Technologies Ltd (2000 - present). Has published > 160 articles,  4 international patents, 7 book chapters, H index: 44


45 years of research experience, with a primary focus on bacteriocin production by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, staphylococci  and in particular streptococci. Areas of special interest include the detection and isolation of bacteriocins, purification and amino acid sequencing of the active agents and characterisation of their genetic loci, investigation of the significance of bacteriocins to the host cell and, most recently, the practical and commercial application of bacteriocin-producing bacteria as a specific means of protecting humans and other animals against bacterial infections.


  • Tagg, J.R., Burton J.P., Wescombe P.A. and Chilcott C.N. (2008) Streptococci as effector organisms for probiotic and replacement therapy. In: Therapeutic microbiology: probiotics and other strategies (Versalovic, J. and Wilson, M., eds). ASM Press, pp. 61-81
  • Tagg, J.R., Burton, J.P. and Wescombe, P.A. (2008) Application of bacterial pathogens in replacement therapy. Patho-biotechnology. (Sleator, R. and Hill, C., eds). Landes Bioscience. pp. 1-14
  • Wescombe, P.A., Hale, J.D.F., Heng, N.C.K., and Tagg, J.R. Developing oral probiotics from Streptococcus salivarius. Future Microbiol. 7: 1355-71 (2012)
  • Burton, J.P., Wescombe, P.A., Cadieux, P.A. and Tagg, J.R. Beneficial microbes for the oral cavity: time to harness the oral streptococci? Beneficial Microbes 2: 93-101 (2011)
  • Burton, J. P., Chilcott, C. N., Wescombe, P. A., and Tagg, J. R. Extended safety data for the oral cavity probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12. Probiot. Antimicr. Prot. 2: 135-144 (2010)
  • Wescombe P.A., Heng, N.C.K.,  Burton J.P., Chilcott C.N. and Tagg, J.R. Something old something new: the amazing repertoire of bacteriocins produced by Streptococcus salivarius. Probiot. Antimicr. Prot. 2: 37-45 (2010).
  • Wescombe P.A., Heng, N.C.K.,  Burton J.P., Chilcott C.N. and Tagg, J.R. Streptococcal bacteriocins and the case for Streptococcus salivarius as model oral probiotics. Future Microbiol. 4: 819 - 35 (2009)
  • Hyink, O., Wescombe, P.A., Upton, M., Ragland, N., Burton, J.P. and Tagg, J.R. Salivaricin A2 and the novel lantibiotic salivaricin B are encoded by adjacent loci on a 190 kb transmissible megaplasmid in the oral probiotic strain Streptococcus salivarius K12. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73: 1107-13 (2007)
  • Walker G.V.1., Heng N.C. K., Carne A., Tagg J.R. and Wescombe P.A. Salivaricin E and abundant dextranase activity may contribute to the anti-cariogenic potential of the probiotic candidate Streptococcus salivarius JH. Microbiol. Jan 7. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000237. (2016)