Tiny carbon nanotubes show big germ-fighting potential

Sep 03, 2007

In nanoscience’s version of a David-and-Goliath story, scientists in Connecticut are reporting the first direct evidence that carbon nanotubes have powerful antimicrobial activity, a discovery that could help fight the growing problem of antibiotic resistant infections. Their research on so-called single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is scheduled for publication in the current (Aug. 28) issue of ACS’ Langmuir.

Menachem Elimelech and colleagues point out that past research on the toxicity of SWNTs has focused on their adverse human and environmental effects. These microscopic cylinders of carbon — thousands of times smaller than a human hair — are one of the most promising raw materials for commercial and industrial applications of nanotechnology in the 21st century.

Their potential uses range from biosensors to new drug delivery systems.

“Surprisingly, however, no published studies exist on the direct interaction of SWNTs with microbes,” their report states. “Our experiments provide the first direct evidence that highly purified SWNTs exhibit strong antimicrobial activity and indicate that severe cell membrane damage by direct contact with SWNTs is the likely mechanism responsible for the toxicity to model bacteria. These observations point to the potential use of SWNTs as building blocks for antimicrobial materials.”

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Gold nanorods target cancer cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fingers pointed as climate talks deadlock

1 hour ago

Accusations flew at deadlocked UN climate talks in Lima on Saturday, as the United States warned that failure to compromise could doom the 22-year-old global forum.

Fun cryptography app pleases students and teachers

10 hours ago

Up on Google Play this week is Cryptoy...something that you might want to check out if you or someone you know wishes entry into the world of cryptography via an educational and fun app. You learn more about ciphers and keys; you ...

Recommended for you

Gold nanorods target cancer cells

Dec 18, 2014

Using tiny gold nanorods, researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have demonstrated a potential breakthrough in cancer therapy.

User comments : 0

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.