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29.01.2021 10:31

University scientists develop an alternative to antibiotics

The employees of Voronezh State University jointly with their colleagues from Kazan Federal University and Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University are studying ficin and searching for an accessible substitute to existing antibiotics. The results of their work were published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules in the article “Anti-biofilm and wound-healing activity of chitosan-immobilized Ficin”.

Ficin is an enzyme which accelerates the healing of wounds, chancres, and bedsores, accelerates wound purification from pathogenic flora, and creates the best conditions for healing processes.

In 2017, researchers from Kazan and Voronezh universities found out that ficin can destroy the matrix of staphylococcus biofilms and that is why a combination of ficin and antimicrobials should increase their efficiency. This material was published in the article “Targeting microbial biofilms using Ficin, a nonspecific plant protease roof” (Scientific Reports. 2017. V. 7:46068 DOI: 10.1038/srep46068).

“The possibilities for the medical application of enzymes are limited for a number of reasons: they are unstable when stored as well as under various conditions, especially when exposed to heat; it is difficult to use them many times or for a long time; you can hardly accurately predict the behaviour of the enzyme and the kinetics of the reaction. Such problems are solved by producing insoluble enzyme preparations by different methods of complex formation and the immobilisation of protein molecules on polymeric carriers,” said Marina Kholyavka, Associate Professor at the Department of Biophysics and Biotechnology.

The researchers suggested using ficin immobilised on chitosan for the combined therapy of septic wounds to break up and destroy bacteria films whose formation considerably slows down the process of tissue regeneration.

The method developed by the team of researchers immobilises enzymes on the insoluble carrier which provides them with a number of advantages in comparison to soluble enzymes. This method makes it possible to produce preparations of prolonged action, to deliver the preparation in a targeted manner, and to solve the problem of diffusion in the organism. What is more, the insoluble carrier (for example, chitosan) can itself have a therapeutic effect, acting not only as a matrix but as an active substance.

The obtained results can become a scientific foundation for creating antimicrobial preparations for use in general medicine and veterinary medicine, for the efficient treatment of suppurative complications, especially if they are caused by the formation of a biofilm on the surface of a wound or burn.

VSU Press Service  

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