A Drug-free, Self-destruction Strategy to Combat Bacterial Infections by Using the Intrinsically formed Magnetic Nanoparticles in Bacterial Pathogens

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The growing number of multiple drug resistant (MDR) bacteria and the dwindling pipeline of new antibiotics are driving us towards a ‘post-antibiotic era’ in which even common infections would become difficult to treat. To address this, an antibiotic-free strategy that can combat multiple bacteria is recommended. Most of the proposed approaches nevertheless have several limitations, including bacterial targeting. To overcome such limitations, the proposed strategy employs the bacterial machinery to self-destruct. Herein, the biosynthesis of magnetic nanoparticle (MNP) is reported for the first time in multiple pathogenic bacteria, including MDR bacteria. The intracellular MNPs composed of superparamagnetic zinc ferrites were formed in presence of iron and zinc precursors. Exposure of the treated bacteria/biofilms to an alternating magnetic field (AMF) exhibited hyperthermia (5-6°C) and a dramatic decrease in bacterial viability, suggesting the MNPs therapeutic potential. Likewise, the bacteria existing in vivo biosynthesize the MNPs by mining these elements from the host. To determine its therapeutic efficacy, the infected tissues were exposed directly to AMF. A 3-4 log reduction in bacterial burden, as compared to antibiotics treatment, confirmed the significance of using naturally existing MNPs to combat bacterial infections. The proposed broad–spectrum approach can therefore aid in overcoming the challenges facing anti-bacterial therapies.

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