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Man has trained alcohol-tolerant bacteria

It has taken only five years for bacteria to improve their resistance towards alcohol tenfold.

03.Aug.18 10:22 AM
By Shawn Highstraw


Man has trained alcohol-tolerant bacteria
Alcohol is the powerful antiseptic. Mankind has used different types of alcohol for centuries to treat some conditions, to disinfect surgical and medical tools and operatorís hands. But do the bacteria, the golden staphylococcus in particular, develop some resistance to it as it developed tolerance towards the common types of antibiotics? Research conducted in Australiaís University of Melbourne's Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity confirm that it is actually the case.

Hand sanitizers widely used in hospitals are composed of typical 60 percent alcohol (ethanol, isopropyl, and some others) with the rest of it of water, some sort of surface actives substances. The killing agent is alcohol, as it attacks cell bacteria membranes causing them to collapse due to the range of effects (osmosis, dehydration). However, the killing power of alcohol is not equally universal to every bacteria known. Some of them are able to survive the toxic condition in form of spores. Some of them have thicker cell membranes.

Timothy Stinear, a coauthor of the study said to National Public Radio that it is first time that research has proved that bacteria are able to rapidly adapt to the rising levels of alcohol. Doses forbiddingly fatal for one generation of germs will be only 50 percent lethal for the next generation. Researchers look their at their results as clear surprise, because alcohol considered an absolute poison for the majority of the Staph. aureus. It was widely considered a kind of sledgehammer to crush any strain.

The wide use of sanitizers started in the 2000ís. It has taken only five years for bacteria to improve their resistance towards alcohol tenfold. It means that along with antibiotics resistant bacteria hospitals are infested with alcohol-tolerant bacteria and the disinfection routines may need an update.

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