Blis Probiotics


A 12 year old boy living in Melbourne had his very first encounter with Streptococcus pyogenes – the bacteria that causes a streptococcal (strep) sore throat. Little did he know that this encounter would lead to a lifelong career of research, innovation and improved health outcomes for all.

After a series of strep sore throats that culminated in rheumatic fever, he then had to consume penicillin tablets daily over the following decade to help prevent any follow-up attacks of the disease.

Despite this, he felt that there must be a better and more accessible way to protect throat health, instead of merely treat with antibiotics after an infection had already settled in.​


In the third year of his Microbiology degree at Melbourne University, John Tagg became influenced by the teachings of Dr Rose Mushin concerning the potential applications of bacterial interference as a targeted and natural means of preventing infection.​

John then undertook PhD research at Monash University – the overarching theme of those studies being an exploration of the relationship between S. pyogenes infections and the induction of the autoimmune manifestations of rheumatic fever.​


On September 1, 1969, John discovered that number 22 in this series produced bacteriocin-like inhibitory activity against some other S. pyogenes strains when tested in a deferred antagonism assay.​

The inhibitory agent, later given the name streptococcin A-FF22, was the first of the streptococcal bacteriocins to be isolated and characterised.​

These laboratory discoveries led to the launching of the Dunedin - based company Blis Technologies Ltd in August, 2000.​


​Now a distinguished Professor Emeritus, John continues his lifelong passion and work with BLIS Probiotics in our Dunedin laboratory. He has isolated more than 2000 strains of bacteria during his studies and research, and his role now is to continue looking at how those strains can be used to further benefit human health outcomes.​