Bacterial-synthesized nanomaterials with antimicrobial applications: when the disease becomes the solution

D. Medina Cruz
United States

Keywords: nanomaterials, antimicrobial, antibiotics, nanomedicine


Antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics (AMR) and drug-resistant cancer are two of the most important concerns that the healthcare system is facing nowadays. The increase in the burden of these two problems is constantly increasing due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and the misdiagnosis and mistreatment of several tumor types, respectively. Current treatments, although effective, are not free of drawbacks, such as the lack of selectivity or cytotoxicity issues, which tremendously impact the health of the patient and those that are around them in the community. As such, novel alternatives have been explored over time tailored to specific problems. Among all of them, nanotechnology appears as a suitable platform with the potential to unlock both a targeted delivery of active components and a sustained release of either the antimicrobial or anticancer agent. Still, materials in the nanoscale show disadvantages, especially related to problematic body clearance when used as systemic agents, or to toxicity effects. Therefore, alternatives within the field have been developed over the past few years, and among all of them, Green Nanotechnology offers an effective candidate to solve most of the problems associated with biomedical use at the nanoscale. Understood as the use of living organisms and natural products as raw materials, Green Nanotechnology is presented as a quick, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective platform for the generation of nanomaterials with a wide range of compositions and physicochemical properties without the associated problems of their chemically-produced counterparts. One of the most successful green nanotechnology approaches to date is the use of bacteria to produce nanomateriales. Through detoxification processes, these microorganisms can produce nanomaterials of different size and morphology that can then be used as biomedical agents. Through a proprietary and patented platform, we developed a nanometric trojan horse approach in which different pathogenic bacteria were used to produce nanoparticles with antimicrobial properties that then were used to fight the same bacteria than produced them in a selective and cost-effective manner. The nanoparticles did not trigger any resistance patterns in the bacterial population as happens with traditional antibiotics or other nanoparticles, and presented a strong anticancer behavior. These features allowed to further establish these bacterial-produced nanoparticles as biomedical agents of interest.