A team of researchers is waging communications warfare on infectious bacteria, silencing the biochemical conversations microbes use to organize their attacks on biological tissues. By deploying plastic-like materials that soak up the chemical signals bacteria pass between one another, the team may have found a way to insert an element of confusion into the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The materials -- similar to the stuff dentists use to repair teeth -- are specially designed to absorb signaling molecules that bacteria use to gather their troops around an infection point. In order to get a good infection going, bacteria need sufficient numbers. If they can't muster, they can't infect.
Further, the plastics also keep bacteria from forming biofilms, which are more or less slimy layers of microbes that serve as breeding grounds. Just as they need sufficient numbers to infect, to reproduce in effective numbers they need to rally the troops as well. This signal-blocking approach could stop them from doing so.
Perhaps best of all, it's not just another antibiotic that bacterial evolution will at some point outfox. It's almost like the precision jamming technology DARPA is seeking for troops in the battlefield, scaled down to the microbial level. Take away the enemy's ability to transmit information, and suddenly you've got a distinct upper hand.
Sure, but what does it do to *our* chemical signalling?
If antibiotic history has taught us anything, it's that years from now we'll have created ever-more virulent bacteria that communicates more efficiently, or are simply more aggressive in small numbers (from what I've read previously, the benefit of this tech is that it makes bacteria *think* there aren't very many of them, which shuts off their desire to launch an all-out assault until the colony becomes larger).
Smarter, more aggressive, anti-biotic resistant bacteria. Woo science.
Quite right, this is just a new way to select the most aggressive bacteria...we are entering the post-antibiotic era as we speak, but still we don't learn anything....
Is everyone on this website a complete pessimist. Why does every new thing in science have to kill us?
plastic eh? is it recyclable?
if so, can current useage of current plastics be replaced by this bacteria prhobiting material to make a germ free environement?
like say... a cellphone...?
Vitamin...The fact that we're commenting means we are excited; no scientist worth his title would ever interpret contructive skepticism as pessimism. You have to admit, every 'infallible' advance in antibiotics has been met with the eventual realization that we didn't fully understand or adequately predict the outcomes that would occur from introduction of the medicine to a given infection.
Personally, I'm sure bacteria have ways we don't even know about to flourish that this medicine doesn't consider. Even if they don't, all it takes is a mutation. You might say a mutation of something so fundamental is preposterous, but when you consider all the unlikely genetic mutations being discovered (and many reported on popsci, actually) I think it's reasonable to suggest a few bacteria out of every million will find a proverbial smoke signal to overcome this communication blockage.
If this could help treat <a href="http://www.gallbladdersymptoms.org/">gall bladder </a> cancer, that would be pretty amazing