Viruses may be environmentally friendly decontaminants

Viruses could become the next generation of environmentally friendly decontaminants, replacing harmful chemicals like chlorine dioxide in cleaning up areas exposed to anthrax spores, according to findings released today at the American Society for Microbiology’s Biodefense Research Meeting. Researchers from the Biological Defense Research Directorate in Rockville, Maryland, the Defense Science Technology Laboratory in the United Kingdom, and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute presented their findings.

“Decontamination modalities for anthrax to date have centered on the use of toxic biocides (formaldehyde, chlorine dioxide) or gamma radiation. These approaches suffer from the dual handicap of toxicity to man and the environment and/or are extremely expensive,” says Leslie Baillie, one of the scientists on the study. “There is an urgent need for strategies which are environmentally friendly, can be used to decontaminate a range of environments with little or no toxicity to fauna and flora and are cost effective.”

In the study the researchers investigated the feasibility of using lytic bacteriophage, viruses that specifically target and kill bacteria, to reduce the level of spores made by the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis a close but harmless relative of the organism that causes anthrax. Treatment of the soil with bacteriophage resulted in a significant reduction in spore contamination.

“This study demonstrates the feasibility of decontaminating soil containing spores of a B. thuringiensis, a close relative of B. anthracis, by the co-administration of lytic bacteriophage and spore germinants. Given the toxicity of standard decontamination regimens for B. anthracis, this approach represents an environmentally friendly, cost effective alternative,” says Baillie.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is the largest single life science society, composed of over 42,000 scientists, teachers, physicians, and health professionals. Its mission is to promote research and training in the microbiological sciences and to assist communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public to improve health, economic well being, and the environment.

Media Contact

Jim Sliwa EurekAlert!

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Key breakthrough towards on-site cancer diagnosis

No stain? No sweat: Terahertz waves can image early-stage breast cancer without staining. A team of researchers at Osaka University, in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux and the Bergonié…

A CNIO team describes how a virus can cause diabetes

It has recently been described that infection by some enteroviruses – a genus of viruses that commonly cause diseases of varying severity – could potentially trigger diabetes, although its direct…

Targeting the shell of the Ebola virus

UD research team looking at ways to destabilize virus, knock it out with antivirals. As the world grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, another virus has been raging again in…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close