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Color-changing bandages sense and treat bacterial infections

January 29, 2020

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health. Sensing and treating bacterial infections earlier could help improve patients' recovery, as well curb the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed color-changing bandages that can sense drug-resistant and drug-sensitive bacteria in wounds and treat them accordingly.

Xiaogang Qu and colleagues developed a material that changes color from green to yellow when it contacts the acidic microenvironment of a bacterial infection. In response, the material, which is incorporated into a bandage, releases an antibiotic that kills drug-sensitive bacteria. If drug-resistant bacteria are present, the bandage turns red in color through the action of an enzyme produced by the resistant microbes. When this happens, the researchers can shine light on the bandage, causing the material to release reactive oxygen species that kill or weaken the bacteria, making them more susceptible to the antibiotic. The team showed that the bandage could speed the healing of wounds in mice that were infected with drug-sensitive or drug-resistant bacteria.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The paper's abstract will be available on January 29 at 8 a.m. Eastern time here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acscentsci.9b01104.

For more research news, journalists and public information officers are encouraged to apply for complimentary press registration for the ACS Spring 2020 National Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS' mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The Society is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS' main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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