Figure 1 - Nanoparticles of chitosan in contact with bacterial cells. Red arrows represent intact cells, blue arrows represent cells affected by nanoparticles. Image adapted from Madureira et al. (2015) Journal of Food Engineering 167 (B): 210-216
The increase of bacterial resistance to antibiotics has increased the need to find alternative solutions. Natural antimicrobials are presented as a promising possibility, whose efficacy can be improved by the use of technological solutions capable of enhancing its effect. One example is nanoparticles, particles ranging in size from 1 to 1000 nanometers and which are currently applied in several different fields such as medicine, physics and electronics.
In the work carried out by the group of Bioproducts and Bioactives (team: Eduardo Costa, Sara Silva, Sandra Vicente, Cláudia Neto, Pedro Castro, Mariana Veiga, Raquel Madureira, Freni Tavaria and Manuela Pintado) the ability of chitosan (a naturalpolysaccharide) nanoparticles in inhibiting the growth of various strains of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus associated with skin.
The results showed that the chitosan nanoparticles were effective in inhibiting the growth of the various multiresistant bacteria tested and in preventing the colonization of surfaces by them.
This study is of great importance to several industries including medical and cosmetic as it demonstrates the potential of using nano technologies to enhance and potentiate the biological activity of natural compounds.
The paper titled "Chitosan nanoparticles as an alternative anti-staphylococci agents: Bactericidal, antibiofilm and antiadhesive effects" can be found here.