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Notícias Nacionais / 07/05/2021

ECO TECHNOLOGY

Brazilian researchers discover nanocrystals that inactivate bacteria in water

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Brazilian researchers discover nanocrystals that inactivate bacteria in water


Researchers at the Federal University of Ceará found that cellulose nanocrystals can inactivate up to 90% of the cells of Escherichia coli (E. Coli) bacteria, very common in membranes used in desalination and water filtration systems.

E. Coli is a major cause of intestinal infections, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloody stools.

With the research being applied, we will have an old problem solved, both for the health of the population and for water treatment networks.

The technology

UFC researchers noted that nanocrystals have structures that resemble needles and therefore end up puncturing the bacteria's cell membrane.

Due to physical damage, the bacterium loses its lipid layer, which serves as a protector.

The technology of cellulose nanocrystals, therefore, does not eliminate bacterial cells, but performs a "break" of up to 90% in the physical structure of the microorganism, leaving it practically inactive for infections.

Imagine that a person covers the top of the house wall with a sharp wire fence. Any individual trying to get through the site will have more difficulties and may be cut. The research practiced with nanocrystals has the same principle.

“While most approaches are based on the use of chemical compounds to interrupt biochemical processes in microorganisms, cellulose nanocrystals act to promote physical stress in these organisms”, explains Victor Teixeira Noronha, PhD in Natural Resources Biotechnology at UFC and one of the study authors.

The next step in the research, according to Victor, will be to test CNCs with other types of bacteria, especially those most common in filtration and desalination systems.


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