Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microcapsules Act As 'Roach Motel' To Kill Harmful Bacteria

Date:
November 25, 2008
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
Scientists 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.

Researchers are reporting development of antibacterial microcapsules that attract, capture, and kill harmful bacteria.
Credit: Queensland Government

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.

Related Articles


“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.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency funded the research, and it’s also possible the spheres could be used in filters to trap bioterrorism agents, Schanze said. None of the materials used in the spheres are exotic or expensive, meaning they have good potential to be produced at industrial scales, he added. UF and UNM have filed a joint patent application for the spheres.

The other authors of the paper are Sireesha Chemburu, Linnea Ista and Gabriel Lopez, all of UNM; and Katsu Ogawa of UF.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Microcapsules Act As 'Roach Motel' To Kill Harmful Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119155459.htm>.
University of Florida. (2008, November 25). Microcapsules Act As 'Roach Motel' To Kill Harmful Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119155459.htm
University of Florida. "Microcapsules Act As 'Roach Motel' To Kill Harmful Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081119155459.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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