Saturday February 22, 2020

Researchers Develop Way to Fight against Bacterial Infections using Electricity

Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body

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bacterial infections
Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body. Pixabay

Amid growing antibiotic resistance, Indian-origin researchers have developed a way to charge up the fight against bacterial infections using electricity.

The electric field-based dressing can not only disrupt biofilm infection, it can also prevent such infections from forming in the future, said the study published in the journal Annals of Surgery.

Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body.

bacterial infections
Amid growing antibiotic resistance, Indian-origin researchers have developed a way to charge up the fight against bacterial infections using electricity. Pixabay

These bacteria generate their own electricity, using their own electric fields to communicate and form the biofilm, which makes them more hostile and difficult to treat.

The dressing electrochemically self-generates 1 volt of electricity upon contact with body fluids such as wound fluid or blood, which is not enough to hurt or electrocute the patient, said the study.

Work conducted at the Indiana University School of Medicine by Chandan Sen and and Sashwati Roy led to the development of the dressing, Indiana University said in a statement on Friday.

bacterial infections
Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device is placed in the body. Pixabay

They discovered the dressing is not only successful in fighting the bacteria on its own, but when combined with other medications can make them even more effective.

The researchers believe that the discovery has the potential to create significant changes in the way physicians treat patients with bacterial infections which are resistant to antibiotics.

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“This shows for the first time that bacterial biofilm can be disrupted by using an electroceutical dressing,” said Chandan Sen, Director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering.

“This has implications across surgery as biofilm presence can lead to many complications in successful surgical outcomes,” Sen added. (IANS)

Next Story

New Species of Soil Bacteria Can Fight Soil Pollutants

This bacteria to fight climate change, soil pollutants

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Soil bacteria
Researchers have found a new species of soil bacteria that is particularly adept at breaking down organic matter. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have found a new species of soil bacteria that is particularly adept at breaking down organic matter, including the cancer-causing chemicals that are released when coal, gas, oil and refuse are burned.

The newly discovered bacteria belong to the genus Paraburkholderia madseniana, which are known for their ability to degrade aromatic compounds and, in some species, the capacity to form root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen.

According to the study, researchers at Cornell University in the US with colleagues from Lycoming College described the new bacterium in a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Soil bacteria
The bacteria has the capacity to form root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The first step was sequencing the bacterium’s ribosomal RNA genes, which provided genetic evidence that madseniana was a unique species.

In studying the new bacteria, the researchers noticed that madseniana is especially adept at breaking down aromatic hydrocarbons, which make up lignin, a major component of plant biomass and soil organic matter.

According to the researchers, aromatic hydrocarbons are also found in toxic PAH pollution.

This means that the newly identified bacteria could be a candidate for biodegradation research and an important player in the soil carbon cycle.

In the case of madseniana, Buckley’s lab wants to learn more about the symbiotic relationship between the bacteria and forest trees.

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Initial research suggests that trees feed carbon to the bacteria, and in turn the bacteria degrade soil organic matter, thereby releasing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus for the trees.

Understanding how bacteria break down carbon in soil could hold the key to the sustainability of the land and the ability to predict the future of global climate, the researchers said. (IANS)