IBM Gel kills bacteria, even antibiotic-resistant
Feedback hydrogel on bacterial biofilm of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to antibiotics
company IBM for decades has been developing materials for the production of computer chips. A few years ago, while working on one of the chips, engineers discovered that when certain materials are bonded, a positive electric charge is formed, with which it is possible to etch a silicon substrate extremely accurately, in fact, on an atomic scale.
Of course, this discovery is useful for the production of chips. But scientists wondered, where else can it be used? For example, how does a positive charge affect living cells? It turned out that the effect is fatal: a substance attracts a negatively charged cell membrane, instantly destroying the cell.
IBM employees, together with specialists from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, began experiments on the effects of the polymer on staphylococcus aureus colonies that are resistant to modern antibiotics. Such bacteria spread through gyms and other public places, affecting those who do not follow hygiene rules. Patients develop a skin infection, and then sepsis, pneumonia, or other complications may develop.
As a result of tests, scientists were able to create a nanosubstance with such unique properties that it was called the ninja polymer. This substance quickly covers staph cells, destroys them, and then disappears without a trace as a result of biodegradation. A traceless disappearance is very important so that the polymer cannot damage beneficial cells and does not accumulate in organs.
The mechanism of action of IBM Nanogel is different from the mechanism of action of antibiotics. The gel mechanically acts on the staphylococcus membrane and destroys it, which leads to cell death.
The inventors have just begun to study in what other areas you can apply a unique invention. For example, it can be used instead of soap and toothpaste, for continuous disinfection of rooms. In addition to personal hygiene, a hydrogel can be useful in agriculture, food industry, etc. Tools for effective disinfection are needed everywhere.