The pressure of antimicrobial resistance has forced many countries to reduce or even prohibit the use of antibiotics in feed. Therefore, it is in urgent need to develop alternatives to antibiotics to control infectious diseases in feed and aquaculture. To address this long-lasting challenge, we prepared peptide polymers that display potent and broad-spectrum activity against common pathogenic bacteria in aquaculture, low hemolysis and low cytotoxicity, and doesn’t induce bacteria to develop resistance or cross resistance to antibiotics. The optimal peptide polymer demonstrates strong in vivo therapeutic potential in an adult zebrafish infection model. Moreover, the optimal peptide polymer is biodegradable by enzyme into single amino acids and dipeptides to totally lose antibacterial activity and, therefore, will not cause antimicrobial selective pressure. Our study suggests that peptide polymers are promising alternatives to antibiotics in aquaculture and open new avenues to address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.
Supplementary information include 1H NMR spectrum, GPC spectrum, ESI-MS spectrum, etc.