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Scientists one step closer to preventing bacterial infections of implanted medical devices

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Posted June 26, 2013
Extracellular DNA (yellow) in biofilms of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa organising traffic flow.

Extracellular DNA (yellow) in biofilms of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa organising traffic flow.

Ground-breaking research by Australian scientists has revealed new insights into how life-threatening bacteria colonise medical devices that are implanted in the human body.

The break throughs could help tackle antibiotic resistant infections that develop in groups of microorganisms where cells stick to each other on a surface, otherwise known as biofilms.

Biofilms are a significant threat to human and animal health because they are notoriously resistant to antibiotic treatment and immune defences. They are responsible for many chronic and recurring infections that occur around implanted medical devices.

Research published today in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by UTS Associate Professor Cynthia Whitchurch, used advanced microscopy techniques, including the next generation imaging system OMX Blaze, and sophisticated computer vision analysis to explore how bacterial biofilms spread. Associate Professor Whitchurch is leading a team of researchers from the UTS ithree institute, the UTS School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University, University of Melbourne and CSIRO.

Studying the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen that can cause respiratory disease and often causes infections when things such as catheters are inserted, has helped the team deduce how individual cell movements are co-ordinated and how intricate networks of interconnected trails are formed during biofilm expansion.

Read more at: Phys.org

 

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