The widespread use of antibiotics has resulted in the ongoing and ever-increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” contributing to the deaths of many thousands of patients worldwide. Moreover, hospital-acquired infections have become a growing problem.
As reported by the online newsletter textilesupdate.com, a consortium of South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Yeejoo Co. Ltd., and the Korea Institute of Ceramic Engineering and Technology have developed an antibacterial fabric using a natural bacterial pigment that is effective against the super bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus. The group used the anti-bacterial fabric to produce prototype anti-super-bacterial masks.
The pigment called “violacein” is a violet pigment naturally made by bacteria found in nature, and is reported to have antibacterial, antiviral, antiprotozoal and anticancer effects. The research team at UNIST extracted crude violacein that was used to dye the cotton fabric. They discovered the fabric blocked the growth of various multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains by 99.9 percent.
The work was supported by a grant from the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology through the EUREKA program.