An industry-academic collaborative group affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has successfully engineered anti-bacterial fabrics that are effective against the super-bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus.
This anti-bacterial fabric was developed using a natural bacterial pigment called ‘Violacein’, which is 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, led by Prof. Robert J. Mitchell, extracted crude violacein using a self-developed production method and this was used to dye the cotton fabric. The team discovered that this fabric blocked the growth of MRSA and other multi-drug resistant S. aureus strains by 99.9%.
This widespread use of antibiotics has resulted in the ongoing and ever-increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, with more than 0.7 million patients dying each year from these “superbugs”. Moreover, nosocomial infections, otherwise known as hospital-acquired infections, have become a growing problem worldwide and South Korea is no exception, scientists say.
“This is first case where an antibacterial fabric was produced using violacein. This fabric has the possibility to reduce the impact of super-bacterial infections,” said Prof. Mitchell. “We hope this donation will help public health.”
The work was supported by a grant from the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) through the EUREKA program.