Weak Electric Currents Would Aid in Fighting Superbugs

A new study published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal has shown that electricity would eliminate bacteria. The findings might have long-term implications for fighting “superbugs.”

Since the 60s, scientists have found out that electrical currents would restrict or kill bacteria. Nevertheless, the growing threat of superbugs that can resist antibiotics has encouraged researchers to look for new methods to decrease bacterial transmission.

Most studies in previous decades focused on electric fields or large currents. However, it is still unknown how electricity would kill the bacteria and whether low currents would have the same effects.

The published study is conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Arkansas. It has suggested that electrical currents of fewer than 100 microamps would eliminate bacteria in 30 minutes.

More specifically, the electricity is able to affect the membranes of the bacteria, which enables irons, proteins, and other components to leak out and into the cells.

A voltage of fewer than 1.5 volts was sufficient to generate the needed current. This means a household battery or a small solar panel would be suitable for this purpose.

The results suggest that electricity would be a good way to sterilize objects constantly. Doorknobs or frequently touched areas can be benefited from this application. More importantly, the currents are small and will not do harms to humans.

Another application is to prevent tough bacterial surfaces, biofilms, or colonies from forming in purification or water storage facilities.

In this study, scientists used the bacterium Escherichia coli.

Various techniques were used to compare different states of bacteria when the voltage was on and off.

The findings show that irons and other components like amino acids would lead out and into the cells.

Another method known as a filtration assay indicated that even large components like nucleic acids and proteins would lead from these cells after membranes were damaged by electric currents.

Scientists believe that the electrical currents would change the normal voltage and affect the membrane.

The study concludes that treating bacteria with electric current at fewer than 100 microamps in 30 minutes would lead to considerable damage to the membranes. It also resulted in 2-way leakages of proteins, small components, and irons.

It is important to note that the electric power causing serious damage to the membrane of bacteria is extremely low, which is expected to allow for the application of low electric voltages in antimicrobial treatments.

Source: https://aem.asm.org/content/86/16/e01015-20

Related Articles

Common Tick-Borne Diseases

Your Health
Ticks are common in many regions. They can bite humans and pass pathogens like parasites, viruses, or bacteria, which eventually cause infections. Those people who often work outdoor tend to be at a higher risk. Areas with leaf litter,...

Guide on Getting A Colonoscopy

Ailments & Conditions
Colonoscopy Overview: A colonoscopy is a medical procedure or exam to check for abnormalities present in the colon (large intestine) and the rectum. It can be helpful in detecting polyps (benign growths or fragments that may develop into cancers), and abnormalities...

Sinus Headache – Diagnosis & Treatments

Ailments & Conditions
Headaches are a common health issue that many people often experience. However, if you feel this condition with tenderness or pressure behind the noses, eyes, or cheeks, then this might be caused by a sinus headache. There are many...

Memory Loss – All You Need to Know

Ailments & Conditions
Overview It's perfectly normal to misplace the car keys and forget your husband's name when you try to tell them about it. It starts to get scary when you frantically fumble through your brain to remember where you were headed...

Understanding Autoimmune Hives

Your Health
What Are Autoimmune Hives? Autoimmune hives occur when the immune system overreacts and attacks normal tissues and cells in the body instead of harmful invaders. They would happen with other autoimmune disorders or may be a stand-alone problem without any...

Embolism vs. Aneurysm – Differences and Similarities

Ailments & Conditions
What Is an Aneurysm? An aneurysm occurs when the wall of an artery becomes damaged or weaker. As a result, these areas may rupture due to atherosclerosis or blood pressure and lead to internal bleeding. This is usually a medical...

Chronic Venous Insufficiency – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and More

Ailments & Conditions
What Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency? In general, oxygen-rich blood is transported to other parts of the body through the arteries, whereas the veins are responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood back. Venous insufficiency is a condition that causes difficulty in the...

8 Common Facts about Estrogen

Your Health
What Is Estrogen? Along with progesterone, estrogen an important sex hormone in women's bodies. It is responsible for reproduction and typical physical features in females, such as public hair and breasts. More importantly, the substance contributes to essential bodily processes,...