Saturday 30 May 2020

Plastic eating bacterium offers pollution hope

German scientists have found a small solution to this big problem – plastic-eating bacteria.
This newly identified strain of Pseudomonas bacteria was discovered by a team consisting of researchers from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Leipzig, Germany), Freiberg University of Mining and Technology (Germany) and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (Braunschweig, Germany), who have demonstrated its ability to break down polyurethane, a toxic type of plastic that is particularly hard to recycle.

In 2015 alone, polyurethane accounted for 3.5 million tons of the plastic produced in Europe. Its lightweight, insulating and flexible properties make it suitable for use in many products, from shoes and refrigerators to kitchen sponges. However, it’s incredibly difficult and energy-intensive to recycle, so most ends up on landfill sites where it releases toxic, often carcinogenic, chemicals.

Most bacteria are unable to withstand the toxic fumes released by the plastic, but, as demonstrated in a recent study published in Frontiers in Microbiology, this newly discovered strain is able to not only withstand and survive in the harsh environment, but also degrade some of the chemical building blocks of polyurethane and use these for energy.

For further details, see Biotechniques:  

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

Monday 18 May 2020

Ready for The Count? Back-To-Basics Review Of Microbial Colony Counting

Microbiological laboratories remain reliant on the accurate determination of the number of colony forming units (CFUs) on growth media; this is notwithstanding advances with rapid microbiological methods, at least for some applications. Mainstay methods include pour plates, spread plates, and membrane filtration. Counting of microbes is important as it enables a laboratory to estimate the microbial population in a variety of products (bioburden). Yet there are limitations with plate count methods, including the fact that they only count viable cells and culturable organisms.

Tim Sandle looks at the issue of colony counting from a new perspective, including limitations with the human eye, and with how data integrity can be improved.

The reference is:

Sandle, T. (2020) Ready for The Count? Back-To-Basics Review Of Microbial Colony Counting, Journal of GxP Compliance, 24 (1) :

For details, please contact Tim Sandle

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

Thursday 14 May 2020

What type of cells does the novel coronavirus attack?

Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Thorax Clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital, whose collaboration is taking place under the auspices of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), have examined samples from non-virus infected patients to determine which cells of the lungs and bronchi are targets for novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection. They discovered that the receptor for this coronavirus is abundantly expressed in certain progenitor cells. These cells normally develop into respiratory tract cells lined with hair-like projections called cilia that sweep mucus and bacteria out of the lungs.

The scientists knew, from studies by BIH Professor Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at Campus Charité; Mitte, and by others, that the virus's spike protein attaches to an ACE2 receptor on the cell surface. In addition, the virus needs one or more cofactors for it to be able to penetrate cells. But which cells are endowed with such receptors and cofactors? Which cells in which part of the respiratory system are particularly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection? Eils and his colleagues at the BIH and Charité; now used single-cell sequencing technology to examine the cells in the samples from Heidelberg.
60,000 single cells were sequenced

The researchers discovered that certain progenitor cells in the bronchi are mainly responsible for producing the coronavirus receptors. These progenitor cells normally develop into respiratory tract cells lined with hair-like projections called cilia that sweep mucus and bacteria out of the lungs.


Soeren Lukassen, Robert Lorenz Chua, Timo Trefzer, Nicolas C. Kahn, Marc A. Schneider, Thomas Muley, Hauke Winter, Michael Meister, Carmen Veith, Agnes W. Boots, Bianca P. Hennig, Michael Kreuter, Christian Conrad & Roland Eils. SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 and TMPRSS2 are primarily expressed in bronchial transient secretory cells. EMBO Journal, 2020 DOI: 10.15252/embj.20105114

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

Friday 8 May 2020

Nosopharm develops a first-in-class novel antibiotic

Nosopharm, specialized in exploring unconventional sources of antibiotics to discover new drugs to fight antimicrobial resistance, today announces it has been granted a US patent for NOSO-502. NOSO-502 is Nosopharm’s first clinical candidate in a new class of antibiotics called Odilhorhabdins, aimed at eradicating resistant bacteria. This patent secures Nosopharm’s market exclusivity rights in the US, the leading pharmaceutical market. It also covers numerous chemical analogs - the chemical space of NOSO-502 – thereby reinforcing its protection against exploitation by competitors.

Besides the US patent (US Patent No. 10,626,144), Nosopharm has been granted a patent in Russia, and a notice of acceptance has recently been issued in Australia. In addition, the company has filed patent applications in Canada, China, Europe (EPO), Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, South Korea, India, Israel and Mexico. Apart from Canada and South Korea, which start examining patent applications later than other countries, decisions are pending in all these territories and are expected to be announced during the course of this year.

“The award of a US patent for our clinical candidate NOSO-502 is a key milestone in Nosopharm’s development,” said Philippe Villain-Guillot, co-founder and chief executive officer at Nosopharm. “The US market is the global leader in pharmaceuticals and we have now secured exclusive marketing rights there. Backed by this IP, there is significantly more incentive for both a potential industrial partner to in-license the NOSO-502 program and further developments to combat resistant bacteria.”

The growing resistance of pathogenic bacteria is a threat to the efficacy of antibiotics. In 2015 antibiotic-resistant bacteria were estimated to be responsible for 670,000 infections and 33,110 attributable deaths in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). From a global perspective, antimicrobial resistance could kill up to ten million people every year by 2050, which could cost up to €94 trillion ($100tn).

Nosopharm investigates a new class of antibiotics, Odilhorhabdins, that inhibit the bacterial ribosome with a new mechanism of action. It is intended for treating nosocomial infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae, including polymyxin– and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). In 2017, the WHO published a list of priority pathogens for the development of new antibiotics. Carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii) were at the top of that list, with critical priority.

NOSO-502 has proven to be effective in vivo in Enterobacteriaceae infection models and demonstrated antibacterial activity in vitro against multi-drug resistant clinical isolates (KPC, NDM and OXA among others).

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

Saturday 2 May 2020

Coronavirus testing, antivirals, vaccines and other measures

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle,
Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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