A2: The 48 uses of dragon’s blood

The Economist: The 48 uses of dragon’s blood. March 2, 2017

Summary:  Two scientists from George Mason University have just recently discovered 48 new types of potential AMPs (antimicrobial peptides) that have never been seen before in Komodo dragon blood. The goal is to be able to do more testing on these newly discovered peptides and hopefully use these peptides as  a base for new antibiotics for infections.

Connections:  In class we have talked a lot about antimicrobial resistance and how much of a problem it is. The scientists conducting this study  used spectrometers, they must have done DNA testing, and also have done some type of physiology testing to discover these peptides.

Analysis: One reason I enjoy The Economist is because it is a source that reports on EVERYTHING, and sometimes articles are very short and get straight to the point so they are easy to read fast. But for this article and articles about science short is not always good. This article needs more information. It leaves you on a cliffhanger! The idea of gaining new medicines possibly from Komodo dragon’s is incredibly interesting, I can not wait for a more scientific article to be published about this study. But thanks to The Economist we now know that this research is being conducted.

Question:  The article says that the Komodo dragon’s blood may be useful because the animal is so poisonous. What are other poisonous animals do you think could potentially be studied for this same type of experiment?

Why Dragon fly Wings Kill Bacteria

American Council on Science and Health : 2/06/2017


Summary: This article looks at the reasons why dragonfly wings are so good at killing microbes. The study has brought into question why micro pili are effective against bacteria. Previous thinking was that it acted like a bed of nails of equal height and the membrane was punctured on the nails. New research shows that pili heights are non consistent and that their membranes are actually torn open by their own extracellular proteins  getting caught and tearing the membrane.  The researchers hope to apply this knowledge to create more efficient antimicrobial surfaces.

Connections: This relates to our discussion of biofilms. this technology demonstrates a way of inhibiting biofilms from forming by taking advantage of their own tendencies and extracellular structure.

Analysis: i find the story very interesting. The implications of creating a surface immune to biofilms that can be created relatively cheaply with 3d printing could revolutionize any number of fields. The study does need to use with a variety of bacteria still to prove its effectiveness but the work done with E. coli seems to very well done with a control and repeated examples of the tearing:

Question: Would this have the same effect on eukaryotic cells or would the increased scale counteract the effect of the micropili