Researchers developed a new artificial enzyme that can kill bacteria using light, according to a study conducted on April 4, 2018.
This new artificial enzyme, which kills bacteria with the highly reactive oxygen species that are created by light, is made from tiny nanorods. The thickness of nanorods are 10,000 times smaller than human hair. Professor Vipul Bansal, lead researcher said, “For a number of years we have been attempting to develop artificial enzymes that can fight bacteria, while also offering opportunities to control bacterial infections using external ‘triggers’ and ‘stimuli’. Now we have finally cracked it.”
A combination of light and moisture leads to a biochemical reaction and OH radicals are produced that can kill bacteria. Antibacterial activity by nature does not respond to light. From the experiments conducted by the researchers, it is clearly seen that the activity of these enzymes increase by 20 times and creates holes in the cells of bacteria when they are exposed to light, thereby, leading to efficient killing of bacteria. Spreading of bacterial infections can be controlled and bacterial free surfaces can be obtained by this method and is considered as the next generation of nanomaterials.
Nanozymes works in solution that mimics the fluid in a wound and can be sprayed onto surfaces. These enzymes are produced in powder form so that they can be used in paints, ceramics and other consumer products. This would help in achieving walls and surfaces that are bacteria-free.
Moreover, researchers believe that this new technology will be useful in developing self-cleaning toilet bowls. Over the next few years, nanozymes would work with sunlight rather than torch light or similar sources of light. The research team is trying to enhance the performance of these artificial enzymes in consumer products. Also, researchers are trying to collaborate with specific industries for joint product development.