Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Bug-busting science targets harmful microorganisms

Bug-busting science targets harmful microorganisms

Bacteria, fungi and viruses are a major source of infection and disease. But not all are harmful and ‘good’ microorganisms are often killed indiscriminately. However, new research has revealed scientists are making steady progress to target specific species of harmful bacteria including E. coli.

Infection by harmful microorganisms can result in serious problems such as food poisoning, diarrhoea, enteritis and urinary tract infections. However, ‘good’ micro-organisms are known to have a valuable role in digestion, contribute to our immune system and protect against ‘bad’ microorganisms.

Current methods of killing microorganisms, such as antibiotics and disinfectants, are often non-selective – killing good and bad at the same time. Now a team of researchers, in the Republic of Korea, have chemically engineered a solution which targets one of the most common and potentially harmful bacteria – E. coli.

The researchers were able to combine an antibody (Escherichia coli polyclonal antibody) with titanium oxide – a catalyst with antibacterial properties – to target E. coli. The approach resulted in around 90 per cent of the E. coli being killed in the first 15 minutes, with no significant impact on three other non-targeted bacteria measured during the process.

The research1, which was published in Applied Catalysis B: Environmental in November 2013, shows the potential of combining catalysts like titanium oxide with bacteria-specific antibodies to fight disease and infection, without upsetting the body’s natural balance of microorganisms.

Dr David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), said: “Titanium oxide has many remarkable properties and is already widely used by chemical engineers in products like paint, sunscreen, food colouring and even reducing pollution. This latest research will be of great interest to many chemical engineers working in the pharmaceutical sector.

“The research also has the potential to influence public health policy in response to continuing concerns about the over-prescription of antibiotics and resistance to antibiotics by sections of the population. A more sophisticated management of harmful microorganisms and targeted use of antibiotics could overcome some of these problems as well as improving general health”.

The role of chemical engineers in the health sector is explored in IChemE’s latest technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters. The strategy also includes actions chemical engineers are taking on other global challenges including water, food and energy.

Reference

1 M.Y. Song, H.D. Jung, J. Jurng, B.C. Kim, Bacterial target specific photocatalyst for the enhancement of antibacterial property to targets, Applied Catalysis B, Environmental (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apcatb.2013.11.038

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Wood Producers: Crisis In New Zealand Log Supply

New Zealand wood processing leaders held a hui with senior government officials and political leaders in Whangarei yesterday to assess the acute log supply shortage to local mills in Northland. More>>

Consents And Taxes: Trustpower 'Very Disappointed' With Judgement

Trustpower is "very disappointed" with a Supreme Court ruling dismissing its bid to claim tax deductions on $17.7 million of project costs in a case closely watched by large-scale infrastructure developers. More>>

ALSO:

Fruitful Endeavours: Kiwifruit Exports Reach Record Levels

In June 2016, kiwifruit exports rose $105 million (47 percent) from June 2015 to reach $331 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Overall, goods exports rose $109 million (2.6 percent) in June 2016 (to $4.3 billion). More>>

ALSO:

Economic Update: RBNZ Says Rate Cut Seems Likely

The Reserve Bank will likely cut interest rates further as a persistently strong kiwi dollar makes it difficult for the bank to meet its inflation target, it said. The local currency fell. More>>

ALSO:

House Price Action Plan: RBNZ Signals National Lending Restrictions

The central bank wants to cap bank lending to property investors with a deposit of less than 40 percent at 5 percent and restore the 10 percent limit for owner-occupiers wanting to take out a mortgage with a deposit of less than 20 percent, according to a consultation paper released today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news