Home pagePress monitoringViruses help combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Viruses help combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Date: 27.7.2022 

More and more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Bacteriophages are one alternative in the fight against bacteria. These viruses attack very particular bacteria in a highly specific way. Now a Munich research team has developed a new way to produce bacteriophages efficiently and without risk.

Kredit: Neurobiological Engineering/TUM.The cornerstone of the new technology, which is already in the patent application process and is now being used in new research at TUM, is a special nutrient solution in which the bacteriophages form and reproduce. The nutrient solution consists of an E. coli extract and contains no viable cells; this is a fundamental difference from previous bacteriophage production methods, which traditionally used cell cultures with potentially infectious strains of bacteria.

In the TUM labs, the Munich team has now been able to demonstrate targeted production of bacteriophages in the cell-free nutrient solution: The only component needed is the genome – the plain DNA – of the desired viruses. The genome contains the entire blueprint for the formation of the bacteriophages. When the DNA is injected into the nutrient solution containing the molecular components and enzymes of the E. coli bacterium, the proteins assemble according to the blueprint. Thousands of identical copies are generated in just a few seconds.

"This production method is not only fast and efficient, but it's also very clean – the process eliminates contamination by bacterial toxins or other bacteriophages, which are a possible complications in cell cultures," says Gil Westmeyer, Professor of Neurobiological Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Director of the Institute for Synthetic Biomedicine at Helmholtz Munich.






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