Battling those Bugs

020521Battling microbes is becoming increasingly important, since bacteria that are immune to antibiotics are now showing up in some food products.

Since cutting boards and kitchen work surfaces are common bacterial breeding grounds, it’s important to carefully clean these. Wouldn’t it be nice to always count on having a microbe-free work surface? Well, this is exactly what microbiologists are now trying to make.

This approach to microbe killing involves applying a coating that renders surfaces permanently antiseptic. Most antibacterial treatments become ineffective when the antibacterial agent is washed away during cleaning. This new approach involves coating the surface with large polymer molecules which are able to destroy bacteria. While one end of the polymer coating binds to the treated surface, the other end penetrates the bacterium’s cell wall and quickly kills it. These coated surfaces even have the potential to combat air-borne bacteria released during events such as sneezing.

The advantage of this microbe killing mechanism is that bacteria will not develop resistance to it as they can to antibiotics. It would be nice to know that the pay phone, kitchen counter and the kid’s toys had surfaces with a built in ability to kill bacteria on contact.

So next time you clean the kitchen counter, look forward to the day when you’ll only need to wipe off the already dead bacteria.