An anti bacterial gel which can be targeted to attack specific forms of bacteria

McMaster engineers specializing in infectious diseases have created a bacteria-killing gel composed entirely of friendly viruses. The gel can heal itself when cut. CREDIT JD Howell, McMaster University

McMaster researchers aggregate trillions of phages into new form

McMaster researchers have developed a novel new gel made entirely from bacteria-killing viruses.

The anti-bacterial gel, which can be targeted to attack specific forms of bacteria, holds promise for numerous beneficial applications in medicine and environmental protection.

Among many possibilities, it could be used as an antibacterial coating for implants and artificial joints, as a sterile growth scaffold for human tissue, or in environmental cleanup operations, says chemical engineer Zeinab Hosseini-Doust.

Her lab, which specializes in developing engineering solutions for infectious disease, grew, extracted and packed together so many of the viruses – called bacteriophages, or simply phages – that they assembled themselves spontaneously into liquid crystals and, with the help of a chemical binder, formed into a gelatin-like substance that can heal itself when cut.

Yellow in colour and resembling Jell-O, a single millilitre of the antibacterial gel contains 300 trillion phages, which are the most numerous organisms on Earth, outnumbering all other organisms combined, including bacteria.

“Phages are all around us, including inside our bodies,” explains Hosseini-Doust. “Phages are bacteria’s natural predators. Wherever there are bacteria, there are phages. What is unique here is the concentration we were able to achieve in the lab, to create a solid material.”

The field of phage research is growing rapidly, especially as the threat of antimicrobial resistance grows.

“We need new ways to kill bacteria, and bacteriophages are one of the promising alternatives,” says Lei Tan, a PhD student in Hosseini-Doust’s lab and a co-author on the paper describing the research, published today in the journal Chemistry of Materials. “Phages can kill bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.”

Hosseini-Doust says the DNA of phages can readily be modified to target specific cells, including cancer cells. Through a Nobel Prize-winning technology called phage display, it’s even possible to find phages that target plastics or environmental pollutants.

Being able to shape phages into solid form opens new vistas of possibility, just as their utility in fighting diseases is being realized, she says.

Learn more: Bacteria-killing gel heals itself while healing you

 

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New Antibacterial Coating for Sutures Could Reduce Infections After Surgery

Responding to an urgent need for better antibacterial coatings on surgical sutures, scientists are reporting the discovery of a new coating that is almost 1,000 times more effective than the most widely used commercial coating.

Their report appears in ACS’ journalLangmuir.

Professor Gregory Tew, who is from UMass-Amherst, and colleagues explain that infection at the site of surgical incisions is one of the most common post-surgical complications that keep patients hospitalized longer and boost hospital bills. The most common antibiotic coating contains triclosan, but its use in many consumer products over the years has led to the emergence of strains of bacteria that shrug off its effects.

Triclosan also can be absorbed into the body, raising concerns about possible adverse health effects. Another downside to triclosan: It slows the growth of bacteria, but does not actually kill those already present. That’s why the scientists turned to PAMBM, a new substance designed from naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides that can kill a wide range of bacteria. And because of the way it works, PAMBM has a very low chance of causing bacterial resistance and the emergence of so-called superbugs.

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via Science Daily
 

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Superbug-killing coating “magnetically” draws in bacteria

Could eventually replace antibiotics

Scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have created a “magnetic-like” coating that traps and destroys 99 percent of the bacteria and fungi that it encounters. The antibacterial coating has been shown to be effective against superbugs like Staphylococcus aureus and is already being used in the manufacture of contact lenses. As well as finding numerous biomedical and household applications, the research could lead to new wound treatments and even be used to target bacterial infections inside the body without the use of conventional antibiotics.

Developed by NTU’s School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Professor Mary Chan, the coating made from Dimethyldecylammonium Chitosan methacrylate holds a positive charge that snares and ruptures bacteria cells which have a negative charge on their cell walls.

The nanoporous coating is said to be effective against “superbugs” including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus as well as fungi that can cause corneal infections – hence the use in contact lenses.

“The coating can also be applied on biomedical objects, such as catheters and implants to prevent bacterial infections, which is a serious cause of concern as many bacteria are now developing resistance to antibiotics – currently our main source of treatment for infections,” Prof Chan said.

“By developing novel materials which uses physical interaction to kill bacteria cells, we envisage this can be an alternative form of treatment for bacterial infections in the near future.”

The initial work has led Prof Chan and doctoral student Li Peng to the successful development of a liquid antimicrobial solution that’s highly selective, meaning it’s effective at killing bacteria and fungi but doesn’t harm human cells. Because it attacks cell walls, it’s also difficult for bacteria to develop resistance.

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via GizmagSuperbug

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Permanent spray-on antibacterial coating created

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A University of Georgia chemist has invented something that should be a boon to both hospital staff and athletes … a permanent spray-on antibacterial polymer coating.

It can be applied to natural and synthetic materials – just once – and even after repeated washings, will continue to kill a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and molds. In health care settings, it could be used on textiles such as lab coats, scrub suits, uniforms, gowns, gloves and linens, to protect patients from infections. It could also be used on athletic wear, along with shoes, socks, undergarments, and just about anything else that tends to get germy.

The exact principles at work in the coating are a trade secret, as the university is intending to license it to a commercial client. A paper on the technology only describes its makeup by stating “Antimicrobial copolymers of hydrophobic N-alkyl and benzophenone containing polyethylenimines were synthesized from commercially available linear poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline), and covalently attached to surfaces of synthetic polymers, cotton, and modified silicon oxide using mild photo-cross-linking.”

The synthesis and application of the coating is said to be simple, inexpensive and scalable. Unlike some other antibacterial coatings, it can also be added after a product has been created, instead of having to be integrated into the production process. Should it get scraped or worn off, the exposed section of the item can simply be resprayed.

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