At left, a scanning electron microscope image shows the mesoporous structure of molecular-imprinted graphitic carbon nitride nanosheets. At right, a transmission electron microscope image shows the sheet’s edge and its crystalline structure. Rice researchers imprinted the nanosheets to catch and kill free-floating antibiotic resistant genes found in secondary effluent produced by wastewater plants. Courtesy of the Alvarez Research Group
Rice University material ‘traps and zaps’ floating DNA that makes bacteria resistant
It’s not enough to take antibiotic-resistant bacteria out of wastewater to eliminate the risks they pose to society. The bits they leave behind have to be destroyed as well.
Researchers at Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering have a new strategy for “trapping and zapping” antibiotic resistant genes, the pieces of bacteria that, even though theirs hosts are dead, can find their way into and boost the resistance of other bacteria.
The team led by Rice environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez is using molecular-imprinted graphitic carbon nitride nanosheets to absorb and degrade these genetic remnants in sewage system wastewater before they have the chance to invade and infect other bacteria.
The researchers targeted plasmid-encoded antibiotic-resistant genes (ARG) coding for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM1), known to resist multiple drugs. When mixed in solution with the ARGs and exposed to ultraviolet light, the treated nanosheets proved 37 times better at destroying the genes than graphitic carbon nitride alone.
The work done under the auspices of the Rice-based Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) is detailed in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology.
“This study addresses a growing concern, the emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria known as superbugs,” said Alvarez, director of the NEWT Center. “They are projected to cause 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
“As an environmental engineer, I worry that some water infrastructure may harbor superbugs,” he said. “For example, a wastewater treatment plant in Tianjin that we’ve studied is a breeding ground, discharging five NDM1-positive strains for each one coming in. The aeration tank is like a luxury hotel where all bacteria grow.
“Unfortunately, some superbugs resist chlorination, and resistant bacteria that die release extracellular ARGs that get stabilized by clay in receiving environments and transform indigenous bacteria, becoming resistome reservoirs. This underscores the need for technological innovation, to prevent the discharge of extracellular ARGs.
“In this paper, we discuss a trap-and-zap strategy to destroy extracellular ARGs. Our strategy is to use molecularly imprinted coatings that enhance selectivity and minimize interference by background organic compounds.”
Molecular imprinting is like making a lock that attracts a key, not unlike natural enzymes with binding sites that only fit molecules of the right shape. For this project, graphitic carbon nitride molecules are the lock, or photocatalyst, customized to absorb and then destroy NDM1.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Antibiotic resistant genes
- Engineering natural selection in microbes has implications for biofuel production, addressing antibiotic resistanceon May 8, 2020 at 6:56 am
Scientists who study adaptation—or edit the genes of organisms—know the limitations inherent in conventional approaches to mutation that offer little opportunity to target individual genes without ...
- Antibiotic resistance is a dangerous consequence of our tendency to overuse drugson May 7, 2020 at 7:01 pm
Antibiotic resistance makes infections, like UTIs, more difficult to treat, and increases the risk of deadly infections in hospitals.
- Intensive farming may lead to antibiotic-resistant pathogens, higher risk of epidemics: Scientistson May 6, 2020 at 6:34 am
These bacteria are often resistant to antibiotics, due to use of the drugs in farming ... The scientists suggest that changes in cattle diet, anatomy, and physiology triggered the transfer of genes ...
- Rapid identification of pathogens, antibiotic resistance genes and plasmids in blood cultures by nanopore sequencingon May 6, 2020 at 2:10 am
Most studies on sepsis and BSIs report an increasing incidence over the last two decades 3, particularly among the immunocompromised, multimorbid, and elderly patients, or due to failure of empiric ...
- Breaking the Code: A lifetime of pain, due to genetic drug intoleranceon May 5, 2020 at 11:30 pm
A negative drug test for an decades-long opioid patient reveals a genetic abnormality that might be more common than expected.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Antibiotic resistant genes
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- NIST Helps Expand Genome Sequencing Of Marine Mammalson May 8, 2020 at 8:23 am
The specimens come from a longstanding project known as the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank (NMMTB), which NIST maintains in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ...
- What Is DNA Integrity?on May 5, 2020 at 5:20 am
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic material found in almost all organisms) has integrity, and both integrity and stability of DNA are its key components.
- Extinguishing fearful memories depends on the flexibility of your DNAon May 4, 2020 at 8:02 am
Fear is an important survival mechanism and so too is the ability to inhibit fear when it's no longer needed. In order to counter-balance fear, the brain engages in fear extinction. In this process, ...
- Researchers Detect Land Animals Using DNA in Nearby Water Bodieson April 27, 2020 at 4:28 pm
Monitoring the comings and goings of aquatic life with traces of DNA in water has become an established biomonitoring technique, but scientists are now using environmental DNA to assess terrestrial ...
- This New Smartphone-Based DNA Test Could Help Track Disease in Real Timeon April 27, 2020 at 7:00 am
At the heart of the system is an “i-chip” just four cm long that includes integrated sample preparation, DNA amplification, and signal detection modules.