Arisoy, Feyza Dundar, et al. “Bioinspired Photocatalytic Shark-Skin Surfaces with Antibacterial and Antifouling Activity via Nanoimprint Lithography.” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol. 10, no. 23, 2018, pp. 20055–20063., doi:10.1021/acsami.8b05066.
The use of surfaces modeled after shark skin is promising in the medical field as the dermal denticles of sharks prevent the growth of a biofilm. In a hospital this is vital as there are many surfaces that can house bacteria and result in infection. However, there is a current limitation with the silicon surfaces being produced by the company Sharklet. Silicon has no antibacterial properties, and for effective prevention of the spread of bacteria it is necessary for a mechanism to kill the bacteria. Titanium dioxide solves this problem by inactivating fungi, bacteria (both Gram positive and negative), and viruses. TiO2‘s antimicrobial properties combined with the antifouling properties of shark skin surfaces reduced bacterial coverage by 85% when compared to smooth surfaces, and it was determined that the microtopography of the surface plays a greater role in bacterial spread and growth than the chemical composition. This source focuses mostly on the procedure used to identify the optimal coatings for hospital surfaces. The coating is pivotal because depending on the size of microorganism, it can grow in between the denticles but they impede the growth of a colony due to the disruption. For further prevention of bacterial, viral, or fungal growth the surface needs to be coated. When reacting with water and UV light, titanium oxide produces chemicals that result in the rupture of cell membranes, leading to death of the cells.
Kemung, Hefa Mangzira, et al. “Streptomyces as a Prominent Resource of Future Anti-MRSA Drugs.” Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 9, 2018, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.02221.
This source explores the properties of a genus of bacteria by the name Streptomyces. Most of the species being studied for their anti-MRSA drug capabilities have thus far come from terrestrial soil in tropic and arctic environments. However, given that the genus has 843 species with 38 subspecies to date, researchers are looking at other environments that would provide more species of Streptomyces. Given that MRSA is expanding from hospital settings and is no longer just infecting the older populations, MRSA is becoming an even greater threat to the population. MRSA is incredibly difficult to treat because of its resistance to antibiotics, and researchers are exploring the possibilities of using Streptomyces from the ocean and mangrove ecosystems. Already the limited research in these marine areas is proving promising. While the paper focuses more on what MRSA is, and the overall look at Streptomyces it supports the point that humans need to protect organisms and the environment, even when it is unknown, in order to solve the problems they create.
Magnusson, Skuli, et al. “Regenerative and Antibacterial Properties of Acellular Fish Skin Grafts and Human Amnion/Chorion Membrane: Implications for Tissue Preservation in Combat Casualty Care.” Military Medicine, vol. 182, no. S1, 2017, pp. 383–388., doi:10.7205/milmed-d-16-00142.
This study explores the mechanisms that allow fish skin to be optimal for treating burn wounds in combat. Due to its porous structure, anti-bacterial properties, and gentler cleaning processes that preserve the lipids, fish skin is incredibly useful in battle settings. Currently the other options include cadaver skin grafts (which either require liquid nitrogen or have a short shelf life) or acellular grafts which have a longer shelf life but require intensive “viral inactivation” due to a risk of prions or viruses being transferred. Viral inactivation leaves a matrix behind as all the soluble components have been removed by detergents. The use of Atlantic Cod means that there is no risk of prion and viral transmission as there is with mammalian grafts. Fish skin is an acellular graft but retains fatty acids and other non-soluble materials which aid in the healing of burns, significantly faster than burns treated with porcine grafts. An Icelandic company, Kerecis Omega3, has already patented acellular fish skin and is marketing it throughout Europe and the US. The porous capabilities of fish skin allow for better ingrowth of the patient's cells than human skin grafts. The antibacterial properties of fish skin are better for battle field environments as bacterial invasion can be withstood for two to three days.
United States, Congress, Cong. House, Committee on Resources, et al. “Coral Reef Conservation and Restoration Partnership Act of 2000: Report Together with Additional Views (to Accompany H.R. 3919) (Including Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office).” Coral Reef Conservation and Restoration Partnership Act of 2000: Report Together with Additional Views (to Accompany H.R. 3919) (Including Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office), U.S. G.P.O., 2000, pp. 2–25. 106th Congress, 2nd session, report.
This source is more focused on the policy regarding Marine Protected Areas, while exploring the importance of safeguarding our natural resources. The act discusses what is necessary to oversee the protection of the marine areas, which includes many different federal agencies, and establishes the Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF). The document provides important background on types of coral, its importance economically and environmentally, how humans are destroying it, and past policies regarding its protection. This source is pivotal to understanding the actions being taken to protect oceanic ecosystems, and a public understanding of marine importance. While this source does explore the different federal agencies that oversee marine protection, it is clear that there are too many agencies involved, resulting in confusion and conflict. The intent of the act is to establish a grant program to support reef conservation and restoration, while ensuring that there is proper coordination through the different committees overseeing the protection of coral. By establishing the grant matching program, the House of Representatives recognizes the importance of research and the support necessary to conduct that research. One criticism comes from other representatives and flags the fact that the language used in one section would actually prohibit the Department of the Interior from designating new areas for management and would undermine its authority. The representatives argue that there is already cooperation between the agencies involved in the CRTF.
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