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Researchers Have Developed a Self-Healing New Gel Made from Bacteria-Killing Viruses

McMaster researchers have developed a unique new gel made entirely from bacteria-killing viruses.

The antibacterial gel, which may be targeted to attack specific types of bacteria, holds promise for numerous useful applications in medicine and environmental protection.

Amongst many possibilities, it could be used as an antibacterial coating for implants and artificial joints, as a sterile growth scaffold for human tissue, or in environmental cleanup operations, says chemical engineer Zeinab Hosseini-Doust.

Her lab, which specializes in growing engineering solutions for infectious illness, grew, extracted and packed together so most of the viruses—called bacteriophages, or just phages—that they assembled themselves spontaneously into liquid crystals and, with the assistance of a chemical binder, formed into a gelatin-like substance that may heal itself when cut.

Yellow in color and resembling Jell-O, a single milliliter of the antibacterial gel contains 300 trillion phages, that are mostly the most quite a few organisms on Earth, outnumbering all different organisms combined, including bacteria.

Phages are all around us, together with inside our bodies, explains Hosseini-Doust. Phages are bacteria’s natural predators. Wherever there are bacteria, there are phages. What is exclusive right here being the concentration we have been able to obtain in the lab, to create a solid material.

The field of phage analysis is proliferating, especially as the threat of antimicrobial resistance grows.

We need new methods to kill bacteria, and bacteriophages are one of the promising options,” says Lei Tan, a Ph.D. pupil in Hosseini-Doust’s lab and a co-author on the paper describing the analysis, revealed today within the journal Chemistry of Materials. “Phages can kill bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Hosseini-Doust says the DNA of phages can readily be modified to focus on specific cells, including cancer cells. By way of a Nobel Prize-winning technology known as phage show, it is even attainable to find phages that target plastics or environmental pollutants.

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