Tuesday July 23, 2019

Researchers Discover Viruses in Kitchen Sponges that can Kill Bacteria

A kitchen sponge is exposed to all kinds of different microbes, thus forming a vast microbiome of bacteria and providing rich food sources for phages

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viruses, kitchen sponges
A kitchen sponge is exposed to all kinds of different microbes, thus forming a vast microbiome of bacteria and providing rich food sources for phages. Pixabay

The US researchers have discovered viruses that can infect bacteria in kitchen sponges, which may prove useful in fighting bacteria that cannot be killed by antibiotics alone.

The study presented on Sunday at American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting showed that two researchers used the bacteria as bait and identified two phages or bacteria-eating organisms, which could swallow bacteria from their own used kitchen sponges, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A kitchen sponge is exposed to all kinds of different microbes, thus forming a vast microbiome of bacteria and providing rich food sources for phages. “Our study illustrates the value in searching any microbial environment that could harbor potentially useful phages,” said Brianna Weiss, a life sciences student at New York Institute of Technology, in a statement.

kitchen sponges, viruses
Researchers used the bacteria as bait and identified two phages or bacteria-eating organisms, which could swallow bacteria from their own used kitchen sponges. Pixabay

The researchers swapped the two phages to see if they could infect the other person’s isolated bacteria and they found the phages did kill the other’s bacteria. They compared the DNA of both isolated strains and discovered that they belong to a rod-shaped group of microbes commonly found in feces. Some of those microbes could cause infections in hospital settings.

ALSO READ: Study: Not Only Animal Meat, Veggies Also Transmit Anitibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to Human Gut

Although the two bacterial strains are closely related, the researchers found chemical variations between them when performing biochemical testing, which revealed that those phages are not picky eaters.

“These differences are important in understanding the range of bacteria that a phage can infect, which is also key to determining its ability to treat specific antibiotic-resistant infections,” said Weiss. (IANS)

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Consuming this Bacteria May Cut Risk of Heart Diseases

This research would limit cardiovascular risks and therefore potentially have an impact on half of the population, if properly used, researchers said

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air pollution, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension
Hypertension and metabolic syndrome are important causes of cardiovascular diseases, the researchers said. Pixabay

Researchers have discovered that the use of a pasteurised form of Akkermansia muciniphila-an intestinal bacteria provides greater protection from various cardiovascular disease risk factors.

According to the findings published in the journal Nature Medicine, the research team from the University of Louvain developed a clinical study in order to administer the bacteria to humans.

For the study, 40 participants were enrolled and 32 completed the trial. The researchers administered Akkermansia to overweight or obese participants, all displaying insulin resistance (pre-diabetes type 2) and metabolic syndrome, in other words, having several elevated risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

The participants were randomly divided into three groups — placebo group, those taking live bacteria and those taking pasteurised bacteria — and were asked not to change their dietary habits or their physical activity. Akkermansia was provided as a nutritional supplement.

The primary goal of the study was to demonstrate the feasibility of ingesting Akkermansia daily for three months, without risk.

Physical activity
“Many of us tend to think cardiovascular disease hits in older age, but arteries begin to stiffen when we are very young,” said study lead author Nicole Proudfoot from McMaster University in Canada. Pixabay

The researchers observed excellent compliance – the supplements were easy to ingest and there were no side effects in the groups taking live or pasteurised bacteria.

According to the study, the tests in humans confirm what had already been observed in mice. Ingestion of the (pasteurised) bacterium prevented the deterioration of the health status of the subjects (pre-diabetes, cardiovascular risks).

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Even better, the researchers observed a decrease in inflammation markers in the liver, a slight decrease in the body weight of the subjects (2.3 kg on average) as well as a lowering of cholesterol levels.

In contrast, the metabolic parameters (insulin resistance or hypercholesterolemia) in placebo subjects continued to deteriorate over time.

This research would limit cardiovascular risks and therefore potentially have an impact on half of the population, if properly used, researchers said. (IANS)