Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Slimy Bacteria Common Cause Of Chronic Infections

Date:
May 24, 1999
Source:
Montana State University
Summary:
Bacterial slime is the culprit behind many nagging infections that plague children and adults, say scientists from Montana State University-Bozeman and the University of Iowa in a paper published May 21, 1999 in the journal Science.

BOZEMAN, MT--Bacterial slime is the culprit behind many nagging infections that plague children and adults, say scientists from Montana State University-Bozeman and the University of Iowa in a paper published May 21, 1999 in the journal Science.

Ear infections, periodontitis and cystic fibrosis pneumonia are just a few examples of the infections that involve sticky communities of bacteria called biofilms. Lingering infections can also occur when a person has sutures, contact lenses, urinary catheters, intrauterine devices (IUDs), mechanical heart valves, penile prostheses, and a variety of other implanted devices or procedures.

The researchers explain the relationship between biofilms and infections in a review paper titled, "Bacterial Biofilms: A Common Cause of Persistent Infections." William Costerton, director of MSU's Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE), is the lead author. Co-authors are Philip Stewart of the CBE and Pete Greenberg of the University of Iowa.

"We have made mild inroads into the medical area since '92," Costerton said. "We are chipping away at our image of bacteria."

Recent advances in understanding the genetic and molecular makeup of biofilms may help find ways to control related infections, the article says.

Science is a weekly journal that publishes scientific news, as well as the most significant breakthroughs in global research. It is the world's largest circulation journal for a general science audience.

"Having a paper accepted that you submitted is rare," Costerton commented. "But then to be invited to write a review for them is a world recognition. I think it's wonderful."

Science is an ideal forum since it covers the "whole spectrum of science, medicine and engineering," he added.

The biofilm article reviews much of the work that has become familiar to followers of the CBE. It tells how bacteria attach to surfaces and, when there's a quorum of cells, form biofilms. It explains the communication that goes on between cells as they create microscopic communities complete with canals, towers and even balloons. It describes how bacteria know when to come together and when to disperse.

The paper goes on to discuss the environmental and medical problems that can result from biofilms. Cystic fibrosis is about the best example of a persistent infection that involves slime, said Costerton, who has seen it close-up for more than 30 years. Costerton and Greenberg each have a child with cystic fibrosis, a disorder that produces abnormally thick mucus in the lungs.

The Science article also explains why it's so difficult to fight biofilm infections. Biofilms, for a variety of reasons, resist the antibiotic artillery that's lodged against them. One theory is that some of the cells grow so slowly - or are so starved - that they don't pass along the antibiotics. Another idea is that some of the cells set up barriers to block penetration.

The future of biofilm research will see the continued dissection of biofilms on a molecular and genetic level, the article says.

"Our modern view of biofilm infections leads to the realization that their effective control will require a concerted effort to develop therapeutic agents that target the biofilm phenotype and community signaling based agents that prevent the formation, or promote the detachment, of biofilms," the article concludes. The techniques are now available to undertake such efforts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Montana State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Montana State University. "Slimy Bacteria Common Cause Of Chronic Infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990524040309.htm>.
Montana State University. (1999, May 24). Slimy Bacteria Common Cause Of Chronic Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990524040309.htm
Montana State University. "Slimy Bacteria Common Cause Of Chronic Infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990524040309.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins