DEC 27, 2021 12:00 PM PST

Synthetic Coating Protects Bacteria Being Used for Therapeutic Benefit

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

In recent years, the gut microbiome has been identified as a major player in determining an individual’s health. Attempts to understand the microbiome, a collection of microscopic organisms, including healthy bacteria, has been the target of a significant body of research. For example, studies examining dietary impact on health have acknowledged how individualized gut microbiota play a role in how people respond to different diest. As a result, scientists have sought to understand how it affects our health and how best to manipulate it, from a therapeutic perspective. Some have even gone so far as to refer to the microbiome as a “newly discovered organ,” highlighting its untapped potential. 

The administration of microbes (or bacteria) has become a common therapeutic approach for treating various illnesses. Because the microbiome is all about balance of the microbes in our body’s, the administration of microbes could have therapeutic benefits by helping restore balance or change the constitution of someone’s microbiome. For example, some bacteria are known to be more prevalent in healthy guts, such as Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, one of the most common bacteria found in the gut microbiome. 

The problem is, bacteria are very fragile, and can easily be destroyed during processes to manufacture and administer them for the gut. Because bacteria are anaerobic organisms, exposure to oxygen can put an undue amount of stress on them. As a result, many of the processes used to freeze bacteria in preparation for therapy can damage bacteria. Researchers at MIT may have found a solution.

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers have developed a coating that could protect these bacteria during processing and potentially administration. 

The coating was a synthetic material made from polyphenols and iron, which, when mixed with bacteria, formed a coating that latched to the bacteria and created a protective coating. During the freezing process, the coating proved effective in protecting bacteria when they were placed into capsules for administration. 

Sources: Medgadget; Journal of the American Chemical Society; Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
 

About the Author
Professional Writing
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
MAR 26, 2022
Neuroscience
Neuroscience from the 2022 Labroots Virtual Event
MAR 26, 2022
Neuroscience from the 2022 Labroots Virtual Event
Labroots hosted its 10th annual online-only neuroscience conference, which highlighted cutting edge collaborative resear ...
MAR 28, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Earth-forming meteorites may have formed in the outer Solar System
MAR 28, 2022
Earth-forming meteorites may have formed in the outer Solar System
"The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff," Carl Sagan famously stated on his original award ...
APR 14, 2022
Space & Astronomy
NASA's Perseverance Rover Hears the Sounds of Mars
APR 14, 2022
NASA's Perseverance Rover Hears the Sounds of Mars
Who doesn’t like to zap things, even if only imaginary? Nearly everyone at some point in their life has yelled, &l ...
MAY 07, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Classifying exoplanet atmospheres FTW!
MAY 07, 2022
Classifying exoplanet atmospheres FTW!
Those who have watched Star Trek have undoubtedly heard the Enterprise crew refer to planets by different classes regard ...
MAY 12, 2022
Neuroscience
Secondary Tasks in Interviews Help Identify Liars
MAY 12, 2022
Secondary Tasks in Interviews Help Identify Liars
Lying requires more cognitive energy than telling the truth. Working with this fact, researchers have found that the ext ...
MAY 18, 2022
Technology
Non-toxic, Eco-friendly Solar Panels
MAY 18, 2022
Non-toxic, Eco-friendly Solar Panels
Solar panels have become one of the most prominent alternatives to carbon-producing fuels in the fight against climate c ...
Loading Comments...