Tag Archives: antibiotic resistant

Scientists Find New Technique to Defeat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Petri Dish Bacteria
Photo by Andrian Lange/Unsplash

Stress often causes bacteria to form biofilms. The stress can be in the form of a physical barrier, ultraviolet light, or a toxic substance such as antibiotics. These biofilms take from hours to days to form and can be of various shapes, sizes, colors, and textures depending on the species of bacteria involved.

Being in the state of a biofilm protects them from hazardous substances in their environment — biofilms have a unique outer wall, with different physical and chemical properties than their individual cells. They can coordinate metabolically, slow their growth, and even form an impenetrable barrier of wrinkles and folds.

This is one way they achieve high antibiotic resistance. Researchers from the United Kingdom recently studied the bacteria B. Sultilis transition from a free-moving swarm to a biofilm as a defense mechanism and published what they did to combat its antibiotic resistive properties in eLife.

Photo by Clemencedg/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia

To determine if their test strain behaves as others do, they recreated first performed stress tests on them. They tested the bacteria’s response to a physical barrier, ultraviolet light, and an antibiotic. The addition of a physical barrier led to a single-to-multi-layer transition of the bacteria, followed by an increase in cell density and the formation of multilayer islands near the barrier. Later, wrinkles developed on the islands near the barrier in the area the islands had started to appear initially.

When they applied ultraviolet light to the swarm, they again observed a drop in cell speed and an increase in density. And after the scientists added a large dose of the antibiotic kanamycin the bacterial cells formed a biofilm. The researchers then devised a strategy to tackle this bacteria biofilm.

They added kanamycin to the environment of a new batch of swarming bacterial cells and watched as a biofilm began to take shape. They then re-administered the antibiotic in a much larger dose than the first one, just before the completion of the biofilm’s formation. The breakdown of the partially formed biofilm and the death of the bacterial cells occurred as a result.

This shows that antibiotic-resistant bacteria lose their resistance to antibiotics when they undergo a phase transition, right before transitioning to a biofilm, where they would become much more resilient. So with proper timing of the administering of antibiotics, bacteria can be attacked in their most vulnerable state and eliminated. Researchersbelieve similar swarm-to-biofilm transitions occur in other bacterial species too.

Their research could pave the way to finding more effective ways of managing clinically relevant bacteria. Such as Salmonella enterica which spreads to the bloodstream and is transmitted by contaminated food. Or the multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa which causes infections in the blood, lungs (pneumonia), and other parts of the body after surgery and is spread in hospitals.

British surfers are more prone to be antibiotic resistant bacteria carriers

A new study shows that surfers are three times more likely to harbor very resistant types of E.coli.

Surfers swallow almost ten times more seawater than the average swimmer, researchers at the University of Exeter report. Since many sewage collections drain into the sea, they sometimes bring along various types of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (ARB). Researchers suspected that surfers ingest a worrying amount of such bacteria.

Source: Pixabay/andyperdana69

Dr Anne Leonard, lead author of the paper said: “This research is the first of its kind to identify an association between surfing and gut colonisation by antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

Unfit antibiotic treatments for viral infections and not respecting the full length and dosage of such treatments, are catalysts for bacterial resistance, a problem which is becoming more and more worrisome.

Bacteria are living organisms and the laws of evolution apply to them just like other creatures. When you take a treatment that kills most but not all bacteria, you’re accelerating their evolution. The survivors will be super trained to resist treatment. In a way, antibiotic resistance is their only way of surviving and adapting.

Via Pixabay/geralt

Surfing with the bugs

Scientists isolated many genes responsible for allowing Enterobacteriae (the family which includes E. coli) to survive antibiotics. One group, the blaCTX-M genes, confers resistance to multiple beta-lactam antibiotics.

Researchers analyzed 97 bathing water samples from England and Wales, noting the proportion of E. coli harboring blaCTX-M.They discovered that 11 out of the 97 bathing water samples were contaminated with the super-bug.

After they identified surfers as being at risk of exposure to ARB, scientists compared surfers and non-surfers to see whether there was an association between surfing and gut colonization by blaCTX-M- bearing E. coli.

The scientists discovered that 9 out of 143 (6.3%) surfers were colonized by blaCTX-M-bearing E. coli, as compared with 2 out of 130 (1.5%) of non-surfers.

Professor Colin Garner, founder and manager of Antibiotic Research UK — the only charity in the world set-up to tackle antibiotic resistance — said this was a “pioneering finding”.

He said that antibiotics enter the environment from farms or sewage. Environmental samples “have higher antibiotic concentrations than patients being administered antibiotics”.

“Research into new medicines to replace our archaic antibiotics has stagnated and unless new treatments are found, this could be potentially devastating for human health,” Professor Garners added.

“We know very little about the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes between our environment, farm animals, wild animals and humans.”

Source: Pixabay/n4pgw

“This research helps us understand better the movement of resistant bacteria in surfers,” he said, but the next step should be testing if surfers and those in close contact with them are at greater risk of serious infection.

Canadian clay kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria on contact

Canadian aboriginals have been using clay to treat their ailments for centuries. Now, a new study has found not only that the clay does have antibacterial properties, but that the clay can actually wipe out antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Image via University of Columbia.

As we use more and more antibiotics, more and more bacteria are starting to resist this type of treatment. The WHO has warned against an impeding crisis in global healthcare, a crisis which we are not equipped to deal with. Now, we may be getting an unlikely ally in the form of clay.

The so-called ESKAPE pathogens — Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species — cause the majority of U.S. hospital infections and effectively ‘escape’ the effects of antibacterial drugs. A survey conducted at 97 hospitals showed the rate of MRSA in diabetic foot infections to have almost doubled between 2003 and 2007, and the trend is accelerating even more in recent years.

“Infections caused by ESKAPE bacteria are essentially untreatable and contribute to increasing mortality in hospitals,” said UBC microbiologist Julian Davies, co-author of the paper published today in the American Society for Microbiology’s mBio journal.

This is what makes this discovery even more exciting and surprising: the fact that clay can make a difference in such a difficult environment. In the in vitro testing conducted by Davies and UBC researcher Shekooh Behroozian, clay suspended in water killed 16 strains of ESKAPE bacteria samples from sources including Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, and the University of British Columbia’s wastewater treatment pilot plant. Also, no side effects were reported.

“After 50 years of over-using and misusing antibiotics, ancient medicinals and other natural mineral-based agents may provide new weapons in the battle against multidrug-resistant pathogens.”

The clay deposit researchers used is located on Heiltsuk First Nation’s traditional territory, 400 kilometres north of Vancouver, Canada, in a shallow five-acre granite basin.

It’s thrilling to see how interdisciplinary mixed teams work so well together. Now, mineralogical and chemical analysis are also being conducted to better understand how the clay works and where other deposits might also be found.

Journal Reference: Kisameet Clay Exhibits Potent Antibacterial Activity against the ESKAPE Pathogens
mBio American Society for Microbiology

January/February 2016 Volume 7 Issue 1 e01842-15