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NTU scientists invent superbug killers
Date:5/11/2012

The superbugs have met their match.

Conceived at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), it comes in the form of a coating which has a magnetic-like feature that attracts bacteria and kills them without the need for antibiotics.

The killer coating, which has shown to destroy 99 per cent of the bacteria and fungi that it comes in contact with, is now being used by two companies: a contact lens manufacturer and a company specialising in animal care products.

The next step is to extend its use in a wide range of biomedical and consumer products, ranging from implants and surgical instruments to kitchen utensils and cutlery, as it is harmless to human cells.

This is an alternative solution which could replace antibiotics - currently the main defence against bacteria - now powerless against super bugs.

The brainchild of Professor Mary Chan, Acting Chair of NTU's School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, the coating made from Dimethyldecylammonium Chitosan methacrylate has earned a place in the prestigious international journal, Nature Materials.

This "sponge-like" polymer holds a positive charge, which acts as a magnet-type of force to draw in bacteria which has a negative charge on their cell walls. When the bacterium comes in contact with the coating, the cell walls are 'sucked' into the nanopores, causing the cell to rupture, thus killing the bacterium.

"The coating can also be applied on biomedical objects, such as catheters and implants to prevent bacterial infections, which is a serious cause of concern as many bacteria are now developing resistance to antibiotics - currently our main source of treatment for infections," Prof Chan said.

"By developing novel materials which uses physical interaction to kill bacteria cells, we envisage this can be an alternative form of treatment for bacterial infections in the near future."

Superbugs which had fallen prey to the coatin
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Contact: Lester Kok
lesterkok@ntu.edu.sg
65-679-06804
Nanyang Technological University
Source:Eurekalert

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