Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Viruses help scientists battle pathogenic bacteria and improve water supply

Date:
September 24, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Infectious bacteria received a taste of their own medicine from researchers who used viruses to infect and kill colonies of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, common disease-causing bacteria.

Infectious bacteria received a taste of their own medicine from University of Missouri researchers who used viruses to infect and kill colonies of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, common disease-causing bacteria. The viruses, known as bacteriophages, could be used to efficiently sanitize water treatment facilities and may aid in the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

"Our experiment was the first to use bacteriophages in conjunction with chlorine to destroy biofilms, which are layers of bacteria growing on a solid surface," said Zhiqiang Hu, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in MU's College of Engineering. "The advantage to using viruses is that they can selectively kill harmful bacteria. Beneficial bacteria, such as those used to break down wastes in water treatment plants, are largely unaffected. Hence, viruses could be used to get rid of pathogenic bacteria in water filters that would otherwise have to be replaced. They could save taxpayers' money by reducing the cost of cleaning water."

Bacteria can be difficult to kill when they form a biofilm. The outer crust of bacteria in these biofilms can be killed by chlorine, but the inner bacteria are sheltered. Viruses solve this problem because they spread through an entire colony of bacteria. Hu noted that the bacteriophages are easier to create than the enzymes used to attack biofilms. The viruses also are better at targeting specific bacterial species.

Hu, along with MU's recent graduate, Yanyan Zhang, found the greatest success in killing biofilms by using a combination of bacteriophages and chlorine. An initial treatment with viruses followed by chlorine knocked out 97 percent of biofilms within five days of exposure. When used alone, viruses removed 89 percent of biofilms, while chlorine removed only 40 percent.

"The methods we used to kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa could be used against other dangerous bacteria, even those that have developed resistance to antibiotics," said Hu. "Our work opened the door to a new strategy for combating the dangers and costs of bacterial biofilms. The next step is to expand our experiment into a pilot study."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yanyan Zhang, Zhiqiang Hu. Combined treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms with bacteriophages and chlorine. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/bit.24630

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Viruses help scientists battle pathogenic bacteria and improve water supply." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924145145.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, September 24). Viruses help scientists battle pathogenic bacteria and improve water supply. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924145145.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Viruses help scientists battle pathogenic bacteria and improve water supply." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924145145.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. 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:
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