Monday, 24 February 2020

Bacteria-shredding tech fights drug-resistant superbugs


Researchers have used liquid metals to develop new bacteria-destroying technology that could be the answer to the deadly problem of antibiotic resistance. The technology uses nano-sized particles of magnetic liquid metal to shred bacteria and bacterial biofilm -- the protective "house" that bacteria thrive in -- without harming good cells.

Antibiotic resistance is a major global health threat, causing at least 700,000 deaths a year. Without action, the death toll could rise to 10 million people a year by 2050, overtaking cancer as a cause of death.

When exposed to a low-intensity magnetic field, nano-sized droplets change shape and develop sharp edges When the droplets are placed in contact with a bacterial biofilm, their movements and nano-sharp edges break down the biofilm and physically rupture the bacterial cells.


In the new study, the scientists tested the effectiveness of the technology against two types of bacterial biofilms (Gram-positive and Gram-negative). After 90 minutes of exposure to the liquid metal nanoparticles, both biofilms were destroyed and 99% of the bacteria were dead. Importantly, laboratory tests showed the bacteria-destroying droplets did not affect human cells.

See:

Aaron Elbourne, Samuel Cheeseman, Paul Atkin, Nghia P. Truong, Nitu Syed, Ali Zavabeti, Md Mohiuddin, Dorna Esrafilzadeh, Daniel Cozzolino, Chris F. McConville, Michael D. Dickey, Russell J. Crawford, Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, James Chapman, Torben Daeneke, Vi Khanh Truong. Antibacterial Liquid Metals: Biofilm Treatment via Magnetic Activation. ACS Nano, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b07861

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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