Researchers band together in global battle on bacterial biofilms

June 9, 2008

The discovery that bacteria are not loners, but social creatures that congregate and chemically communicate in communities — termed biofilms — has sparked a global scientific effort to control spread of these slimy coatings that grow on hospital surfaces, inside tubing, and a multitude of other places. That's the topic of an article scheduled for the June 9 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the C&EN cover story, Senior Editor Lisa M. Jarvis points that biofilms are the major culprit behind hospital-acquired infections that are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming thousands of lives each year. Biofilms also cause other problems ranging from dental plaque to the biofouling of ship hulls. The films are large, complex communities of bacteria that are difficult to kill.

But researchers from academia and industry are now collaborating in a global effort to develop promising new strategies to combat this problem. New approaches include the development of non-stick surfaces and the identification of chemicals that silence bacterial communication or starve them of key nutrients. The first commercial compound to specifically target biofilms is still a few years away, according to the article.

Source: ACS

Explore further: In a melting Iceland, drilling deep to stem climate change

Related Stories

In a melting Iceland, drilling deep to stem climate change

April 15, 2015

Tiny Iceland is a prime exemplar of the complexities wrought by warming climate. It is 11 percent covered by ice, but it is basically also one very large, very active volcanic system. The island has seen fast-increasing temperatures ...

Researchers investigate remarkable approach to desalination

August 4, 2014

Desalination has come a long way, baby. On Aug. 3, some 330 years ago, a certain Captain Gifford of His Majesty's Ship Mermaid, was asked to conduct onboard his 24-gun Royal Naval vessel what may have been the first government-sponsored, ...

Recommended for you

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.