Fighting Listeria and Other Food-Borne Illnesses With Nanobiotechnology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Study
4/3/2013 7:45:08 AM
Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to kill deadly pathogenic bacteria, including listeria, in food handling and packaging. This innovation represents an alternative to the use of antibiotics or chemical decontamination in food supply systems. Using nature as their inspiration, the researchers successfully attached cell lytic enzymes to food-safe silica nanoparticles, and created a coating with the demonstrated ability to selectively kill listeria—a dangerous foodborne bacteria that causes an estimated 500 deaths every year in the United States. The coating kills listeria on contact, even at high concentrations, within a few minutes without affecting other bacteria. The lytic enzymes can also be attached to starch nanoparticles commonly used in food packaging.