"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Titanium microspikes Skewer-resistant superbug

A brand new study suggests that the rough surfaces on insect wings infused with bacteria-killing spikes could also be more practical at combating drug-resistant superbugs, including fungi, than previously thought. It was understood.

Rising rates of drug-resistant infections are worrying health experts worldwide.

To prevent infection around implants — reminiscent of titanium hips or dental prostheses — doctors use antimicrobial coatings, chemicals and antibiotics, but these fail to stop antibiotic-resistant strains and increase resistance. Can also increase.

To address these challenges, scientists at RMIT University have designed a prototype of microscale spikes that might be fabricated on titanium implants or other surfaces to supply effective, drug-free protection against each bacteria and fungi.

The team's study, published in , tested the effectiveness of modified titanium surfaces in killing multidrug-resistant – a potentially deadly fungus – from one in 10 hospital-acquired medical devices. is answerable for infection.

The specially designed spikes, each in regards to the same height as a bacterial cell, destroy about half of the cells immediately after contact.

Importantly, the opposite half that was not immediately destroyed was rendered nonviable by injury, unable to regenerate or cause infection.

Lead postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Denver Linklater, said that metabolic evaluation of protein activity revealed that surface-injured and multidrug-resistant fungal cells are nearly as good as dead ones.

Linklater, from RMIT's School of Science, said: “Injured Candida cells undergo massive metabolic stress, halting the process where they form a lethal fungal biofilm even after seven days. create.”

“They were unable to regenerate in a non-stressful environment and eventually shut down in a process known as apoptosis or programmed cell death.”

The surface's effectiveness against common pathogenic bacteria, including golden staph, was demonstrated in a previous study published in 2017.

The latest findings make clear the design of antifungal surfaces to stop biofilm formation by virulent, multidrug-resistant yeasts, said group leader, Distinguished Professor Elena Ivanova.

“The fact that cells died after initial contact with the surface — some by rupture and some by early programmed cell death — suggests that resistance to these surfaces may not develop,” he said. “

“This is an important finding and also suggests that the way we measure the effectiveness of antimicrobial levels may need to be reconsidered.”

Over the past decade there have been advances in designing surfaces that kill superbugs on contact. However, finding the appropriate kinds of surface samples to kill 100% of microbes so some don't survive to turn into resistant.

“This latest study shows that it will not be obligatory for all surfaces to kill all pathogens immediately after contact if we are able to show that surfaces induce programmed cell death in surviving cells. have gotten, meaning they die regardless,” he said.

Bio-inspired solutions

RMIT's Multifunctional Mechanobiocidal Materials Research Group has for over a decade led the world in the event of antimicrobial surfaces inspired by the nanopillars that cover dragonfly and cicada wings.

Ivanova herself was among the many first to watch that when bacteria settled on an insect's wing, the pattern of nanopillars pulled the cells apart, fatally rupturing the membranes.

“It's like stretching a latex glove,” Ivanova said. “As it slowly expands, the weakest point of the latex will thin and eventually burst.”

His team has spent the past decade replicating these insect nanopillars into their very own nanopatterns, with the newest development using a method called plasma etching to create antibacterial and antifungal patterns in titanium.

The relatively easy etching technique might be improved and applied to a big selection of materials and applications, Ivanova said.

“This new surface modification technique may have potential applications in medical devices but could also be easily adapted for dental applications or other materials such as stainless steel benches used in food production and agriculture,” he said. Can be adapted.”