Designing a protective suit for hard-working bacteria

Every day, chemical factories produce a wide range of products that would be extremely difficult to do without in modern society; Everything from drugs like insulin and antibiotics to fertilizers.

The base of such products often contains bacteria, which can produce chemicals and drugs in an efficient manner while producing no toxic side product, thus appealing to the environment and sustainability.

A major challenge for these hardworking bacteria is that they may need to be exposed to various stresses to produce the desired product: some bacteria are exposed to high heat, others to high pH values, and others to organic solvents. is needed. Even though industrial bacteria harden, this often leads to their death and ultimately lower efficiency.

stronger bacteria

Changzhou Wu, Head of Research at the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark, and his research team work on developing more sustainable chemical processes, and they now present a new technique that allows bacterial cells to grow in a variety of ways. Makes it stronger and more efficient. Chemical synthesis under harsh application conditions.

Team describes their new method, which is based on a model bacterium e coli in scientific journal nature communication.

most people probably think about e coli As a bacterium that can contaminate drinking water and cause disease, most bacteria of this species occur naturally in our intestines and are harmless.

Strengthening E. coli

e coli It is widely used in industry for the production of many important types of drugs and chemicals because it grows rapidly and is both easy and safe to work with.

“But with other bacteria in the industry, you lose a lot of them along the way. They die in the process from the harsh conditions they are given, and that reduces efficiency,” explains Changzhou Wu.

so they think that e coli bacteria in a kind of protective suit so that they become more resistant.

The new protective suit consists of nanoparticles of dopamine (which in chemist circles are known to protect against external stressors such as light), and the recipe is simple: e coli The bacteria, dopamine, and the liquid mix, and soon after the dopamine nanoparticles attach to the surface of the bacterial cells.

“With the protective suit, the bacterium is protected against UV radiation, heating and many organic solvents,” the researchers write in their scientific article.

good for stability

One e coli Without a protective suit the bacterium will rarely survive for more than two hours if exposed to UV radiation. With the protective suit on, more than 85% are still alive after two hours.

The researchers also tested the response of bacteria to a drastic phase change (for example, being in a gas phase that changes from a liquid to a solid, etc.). Here 90% of the unprotected bacterial cells died, while 80% of the protected cells survived.

“With such a high survival rate, one can expand the production of chemical substances e coli bacteria, which is good for the environment and sustainability,” concludes Changzhou Wu.

Industrial use of bacteria, examples:

  • Corynebacterium Glutamicum For lysine production, nutritional supplement in feed, food and beverage industries.
  • penicillium chrysogenum for penicillin production
  • Streptomyces griseus For streptomycin production (antibiotics)
  • Halomonas bluephagenesis For PHB Production (Plastics)
  • cloacera epiculata for wine production.
  • e coli For insulin and growth hormone production.

Story Source:

material provided by University of Southern Denmark, Note: Content can be edited for style and length.


Get the best of Newspaper delivered to your inbox daily

Most Viewed

Related Stories