A new waft in the continuous fight against bacterial infections have taken a new turn. A Newcastle University research group has discovered a way in which infectious microbe turn against themselves. When in jeopardy the bacteria protect themselves with a greasy protective barrier. This barrier layer (or biofilm) protects the bacteria from antibiotics. As a result the bacteria defy household cleaning products with the resultant consequence of contaminated bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Ever more significant biofilms can administer life threatening and difficult to treat infections, chiefly resting on medical implants such as artificial hips, heart valves and breast implants.
Newcastle University’s Professor Grant Burgess and his team have displayed for the first time that these microbes can remove their coat of greasy biofilm once they no longer need it. These cheeky bacteria use DNA as a type of “inside-out glue”, they shield themselves from peril by producing a maze of DNA that holds the cells together and glues them to a surface, thereby creating protection from harm. Not to be outdone, when the bacteria desires to move to a better position, they release an enzyme that breaks up the DNA maze, eliminating the biofilm and discharging the bacteria from its grasp.
Dr. Reindert Nijland (headquartered in Utrecht) and Newcastle stationed chemist Dr. Michael Hall stated that “appreciation for how bacteria utilizes enzymes to rupture the biofilms is the solution to get rid of slime in the domicile, in manufacturing settings and combating bacterial infections.
Professor Grant Burgess exclaimed “it’s an astounding observable fact, that if we can control this enzyme and utilize it to our benefit, to eradicate undesired biofilms, then this would establish an important device in our fight against infection.”
In recent research the Newcastle group analyzed the marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis and discovered that it eliminates a nuclease enzyme to weaken the biofilm. When the enzyme was sanitized and connected to other biofilms it rapidly softened the slime revealing the bacterial cells and leaving them helpless.
Again Professor Burgess stated that “ we want to do the same that scientist did with penicillin, and exterminate bacteria when and however they needed. We wish to do the exact same thing with this enzyme.”