Navigation Links
Scientists build 'roach motel' for nasty bugs of the bacterial variety

GAINESVILLE, Fla. The vacancy sign is on, but the lowlifes who check in never check out.

Scientists at the University of Florida and the University of New Mexico have created tiny microscopic spheres that trap and kill harmful bacteria in a manner the scientists liken to "roach motels" snaring and killing cockroaches. The research could lead to new coatings that will disinfect common surfaces, combat bioterrorism or sterilize medical devices, reducing the devices' responsibility for an estimated 1.4 million infection-related deaths each year.

"The bacteria get in there, they get stuck, and then they get killed," said Kirk Schanze, a UF professor of chemistry and one of eight authors of the paper. Schanze and his fellow researchers describe the findings in a paper set to be published today in the debut issue of the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The spheres are far from the only such "biocide" on the market or under development, Schanze said, but they are unique in their materials and booby-trap action. That could prove important as bacteria evolve to become increasingly resistant to standard disinfectants.

"The first novelty is the material we are using these conducting polymers," Schanze said. "The second novelty is the roach motel concept."

The coatings imbued with the spheres could potentially be applied to doorknobs or other surfaces where bacterial diseases are often transferred, Schanze said.

Schanze, David Whitten, a professor of chemical engineering and associate director of University of New Mexico Center for Biomedical Engineering, and collaborating faculty and graduate students developed the tiny traps based on electricity-conducting polymers Schanze and Whitten have worked on for the past decade.

The polymers have a unique trait: When they are exposed to light, they produce singlet oxygen, in Schanze's words a "very reactive form of oxygen" that is highly toxic to bacteria much like bleach or other potent sterilizers.

On the researchers' hunch the polymers could be used to keep surfaces cleansed, UF doctoral student Jonathan Sommer developed a method to shape them into microscopic spheres ranging in size from 1 to 5 microns, or 1- to 5-millionths of a meter.

Thomas Corbitt, a UNM doctoral student, and co-workers tested the spheres at the University of New Mexico, using a relatively safe bacteria that is closely related to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common, persistent and lethal bacteria in hospitals. Often introduced via contaminated medical devices, that bacterium sickens or kills patients suffering from burns, cancer, AIDS other serious conditions. The strain the researchers used was Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, which is a close cousin but poses little health threat.

While Schanze said further tests are needed to nail down the spheres' potency, initial experiments revealed they wiped out more than 95 percent of nearby PAO1 bacteria after exposure to light for about an hour.


Contact: Kirk Schanze
University of Florida

Related biology news :

1. Scripps Research scientists shed light on how DNA is unwound so that its code can be read
2. Scientists present moving theory behind bacterial decision-making
3. Penn scientists discover cells reorganize shape to fit the situation
4. Scientists discover 21st century plague
5. Bipolar disorder genes, pathways identified by Indiana University neuroscientists
6. Scripps research scientists identify blood component that turns bacteria virulent
7. Barrow scientists solve 200-year-old scientific debate involving visual illusions
8. Scientists find facial scars increase attractiveness
9. Chicks to give scientists clearer picture of fetal development
10. NYU biologist Bonneau named among 20 "visionary" scientists under 40 by Discover magazine
11. Scientists announce major progress towards historic Census of Marine Life in 2010
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a ... Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to the company ... technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John ... Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler ... of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects including ... two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a lecture ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which is ... "In certain areas there ... common economic goals, why not sit down and address strategy ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: