Anyone who is not aware of what biofilms should know that brushing teeth and getting regular dental cleaners are recommended primarily for the fight against bacterial biofilms. Bacteria combine and protect themselves with a unique shield that biological and chemical methods have difficulty penetrating. Things are so persistent that dentists use metal tools to wipe things out.
Now researchers at the State University of Pennsylvania point out the possibility that small robots will be able to crawl around and scratch in bacterial films wherever they find them. The team developed two types of microscopic robots, one of which works on the surface of the teeth, while the other can enter into very narrow spaces. Robots carry with them catalytic molecules that can kill bacteria within biofilms, destroy the matrix, hold them together, and clear the whole mess.
One of these so-called. "Catalytic Antimicrobial Robots" is, in fact, a bunch of iron oxide nanoparticles in a solution that can be controlled with magnets to scratch in biofilms as a kind of snow. Other types of robots are nanoparticles embedded in gel molds with 3D shapes. They can go through narrow cavities and attack biofilms.
While technology is interesting for dentistry, there may be many applications for cleaning medical instruments, preventing the increase of biofilms around implants, and even keeping the water pipes clean!
"Existing treatments for biofilms are ineffective because they are unable to simultaneously degrade the protective matrix, kill the built-in bacteria, and physically remove biodegradable products," said Hyun Kou, one of the researchers in a study published in Science Robotics. "These robots can make all three suddenly very effective, leaving no trace of biofilm."
Study inside Science Robotics: Catalytic Antimicrobial Robots to Eliminate Biofilm …
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