Bacterial Nano-Biofactories: Harnessing the Power of Nature to Arm Nanometric Trojan Horse

Presenter: Linh Truong

Research Category: Health Sciences
College: College of Engineering
Major(s): Chemical Engineering
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Ada Vernet-Crua
Award: Innovation

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to antibiotics has become an urgent humanitarian crisis, incurring both medical and economic burdens into a continuously growing society. Thus, an alternative, non-resistant-inducing, and effective way to treat infection is needed. A perfect candidate comes from the nanoscale and the use of metal-based nanoparticles (MNPs), systems that have long been studied for their antimicrobial properties. However, the cost, efficiency, processing difficulties, and ecological safety of traditionally synthesized MNPs prevent their clinical translation. To remedy these challenges, biogenic synthesis of nanoparticles, using living systems (bacteria or fungi, among others), can be used. Among all the possible candidates, selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) are explored.

In this work, SeNPs were synthesized using pathogenic bacteria with a diameter of 80-120 nm. The nanostructures were characterized extensively characterized and tested for their antimicrobial properties in a selective and broad-spectrum fashion, as well as in terms of cytocompatibility. The biogenic SeNPs exhibited antimicrobial properties, with log reduction ranging from 3 Ð 4 in heterogeneous applications and 5 Ð 7 in homogeneous applications. Cytotoxicity assays confirmed its safety profile against HDF cells. More significantly, biogenic SeNPs treatment did not induce resistance, in contrast with penicillin and commercialized AgNPs. The produced SeNPs exhibited desired antimicrobial properties related to the composition of the surrounding protein corona, with enhanced effectiveness. This specificity, along with its limited resistance-inducing property, opens the door for biogenic SeNPs to become an easy, safe, cost-effective, and potent treatment and a potential solution against the AMR crisis.