Monday, May 23, 2016

Researchers in Singapore discover safer and better alternative to triclosan

Contributed by: Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar
The researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have made a break through discovery and found an alternative to triclosan. Triclosan an antibacterial compound is widely used in household cleaning products but recently, its application is increasingly being restricted due to concerns about its contribution to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This required alternatives in order to continue the struggle against antibiotic resistance. 

The new substance consists of "imidazolium oligomer" can penetrate the cell wall of the bacteria and destroy them. In tests, the substance killed 99.7% of Escherichia coli in less than 30 seconds. It eradicated 99.9% of the bacteria Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas and Candida within two minutes. This compound is also safe for use in humans because it carries a positive charge that targets the more negatively charged bacteria, without destroying red blood cells. The imidazolium chains are in the form of a white powder, which forms a gel when mixed with alcohol. The researchers say it could be easily incorporated in sprays and hand gels used for hand washing in healthcare settings and at home.

This is a wonderful discovery, given the rising antibiotic resistance and the need for simple techniques such as hand washing which will reduce microbial infections and thereby the over use of antibiotics. While this compound is yet to be used in manufacturing soaps, hand-washing with regular soap is still very effective in reducing infections and should be followed rigorously at hospitals and homes.