The preliminary finding, by Philip Stewart, Ph.D., director of MSU's Center for Biofilm Engineering, and Ross Carlson, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering, was described today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
Biofilms, slimy layers of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria (above) and other harmful microbes that form on catheters and other implantable medical devices, are considered the leading cause of bacterial infections in the United States. Coating these devices with chitosan, a medicinal compound derived from crabs and shrimp, could prevent thousands of infections each year, according to new research presented at the 232nd American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco. Credit: (Photo courtesy of Ross Carlson and Betsey Pitts, Montana State University – Bozeman)
In their laboratory studies, chitosan - a sugar in the cells of crabs and shrimp - repelled bacteria and yeast, effectively preventing these microbes from forming slimy, glue-like layers of infectious cells, known as biofilms, Stewart said. These biofilms account for up to 65 percent of the bacterial infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers say that while chitosan is well known for its antimicrobial activity, this is the first time its anti-biofilm activity has been described.
"Coating chitosan onto a surface seems to stop bacteria and yeast from colonizing that surface," Stewart said. "Chitosan almost acts like a bed of nails. If a microbe alights on it, the chitosan skewers it or causes it to leak. That might not kill microbes outright, but it certainly discourages them from establishing a foothold."
Biofilms are considered the leading cause of up to 400,000 cases of catheter-related, bloodstream infections each year, Stewart said. In addition, biofilms can arise on virtually any device implanted in the body, including mechanical heart valves, contact lens, artificial hips and knees, and breast implants. Once a biofilm-induced infection takes hold, it can be difficult to treat and often requires the surgical removal of the affected device, he said.
If further testing in animals and humans proves successful, coating these devices with chitosan could become an important first line of defense, according to Stewart. "I don't want to claim we've fully solved the problem here," he said, "but … I think over the next 10 years we're going to be seeing new technologies in the form of coatings that will prevent or at least reduce the incidence of infection."
Chitosan is derived from chitin, the main component of crustacean shells. It is sold commercially as a nutritional supplement and is an FDA-approved material for staunching blood loss. Chitosan also is used in biomaterials, as a thickener in cosmetics and a flocculating agent in water treatment. As a biomaterial, chitosan has a track record for its non-toxicity, biocompatibility, ability to promote healing and its inherent antimicrobial properties.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles
The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research
Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI
The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...
World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles
The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.
Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.
In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...
Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.
It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:
The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.
One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...
16.01.2019 | Event News
14.01.2019 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Event News
18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2019 | Life Sciences
18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine