Tiny Tech #33: Antibacterial Nanostructures

Today from the world of Tiny Tech:

Looking for a new way to kill germs? Nanotechnology might hold the answer. Bacteria are becoming more resistant to current drugs, making it harder to treat diseases caused by them. There is constant research into making new molecules to fight these more resistant pathogens, however there is always the chance that the bacteria will eventually adjust to new drugs in turn. Nanotechnology offers a different approach and recent advances are starting to bring their use closer to reality.

Although nanocrystals made of copper, tungsten, and sulfur don't look much like common antibiotics, recent studies on these nanocrystals have shown that when they are exposed to bacteria in a Petri dish, over 99% of the bacteria die. The key to this efficiency is a two step process. The nanocrystals first bind to the bacteria. From there, the nanocrystals act like enzymes to create highly reactive molecules that attack the bacterial cell. This mechanism is different than that of normal drugs, which makes it harder for bacteria to adapt to it.

One day a nanocrystal a day may keep the doctor away.

Tiny Tech is made possible by the National Science Foundation and WUFT.  To learn more about Tiny Tech, go to tinytechradio.org.

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