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

 

Budget Policy Statement: Spending Wins Over Tax Cuts; Big Ticket Items Get Boost

Income tax cuts are on hold as the government says “responding to the earthquakes and reducing debt are currently of higher priority”, although election year tax sweeteners remain possible. More>>

ALSO:

Fishy: Is Whitebaiting Sustainable?

The whitebait fry - considered a delicacy by many - are the juveniles of five species of galaxiid, four of which are considered threatened or declining. The SMC asked freshwater experts for their views on the sustainability of the whitebait fishery and whether we're doing enough to monitor the five species of galaxiid that make up whitebait. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Smaller-Than-Expected Four-Month Deficit

The New Zealand government's accounts recorded a smaller-than-forecast deficit in the first four months of the fiscal year on a higher-than-expected inflow of corporate and goods and services tax. More>>

ALSO:

On For Christmas: KiwiRail Ferries Back In Full Operation After Quake

KiwiRail’s Interislander ferries are back in full operation for the first time since the Kaikoura earthquake, with the railspan that allows rail wagons to be loaded on the Aratere now restored. More>>

ALSO:

Comerce Commission Investigation: Prosecutions Over Steel Mesh Labelling

Steel & Tube Holdings, along with two other companies, will be prosecuted by the Commerce Commission following the regulator's investigation into seismic steel mesh, while Fletcher Building's steel division has been given a warning. More>>

ALSO:

Wine: 20% Of Marlborough Storage Tanks Damaged By Quake

An estimated 20 percent of wine storage tanks in the Marlborough region, the country’s largest wine producing area, have been damaged by the impact of the recent Kaikoura earthquake. More>>

ALSO:

ACC: Levy Recommendations For 2017 – 2019 Period

• For car owners, a 13% reduction in the average Motor Vehicle levy • For businesses, a 10% reduction in the average Work levy, and changes to workplace safety incentive products • For employees, due to an increase in claims volumes and costs, a 3% increase in the Earners’ levy. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news