Mulberry silk can cure bacterial, fungal infections, vector- diseases, say Pune researchers
According to statistics provided by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, there were a total of 5,01,31 cases of dengue and 1,87,829 cases of chikungunya in the country during 2013 – 2017 (until December 17).pune Updated: Dec 30, 2017 18:53 IST
A team of researchers from the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati College, Junnar, Pune, as a part of an international collaborative study, have devised a novel biofilm possessing antibacterial capacity as well as the ability to fight against aedes aegypti; vector of the virus that causes zika, dengue and chikungunya diseases among humans.
It is the film coated with silver and gold nanoparticles obtained from the silk protein of mulberry silk which was able to completely kill the larva of aedes aegypti . The scientists used this film coated with nanoparticles synthesised from mulberry grown locally in and around Junnar, located about 90 kms from Pune. Silk being a fibre produced by the silkworms consists of two proteins -- namely fibroin and sericin.
“The resultant nanosilver and nanogold-based fibroin solution and films were tested for antibacterial activity against various bacteria, including E. coli S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa and antifungal activity against A. fumigates,” said RD Chaudhari, head of Zoology Research Centre, Shri Shiv Chhatrapati College.
He along with Dinesh Amalnerkar from Hanyang University, South Korea, and former executive director of Centre for Electronics and Materials Energy Technology (C-MET), India worked on this project. “Synthesised silver and gold nanoparticles are effective against P. aeruginosa, which is resistant to most of the present day antibiotics. Nanosilver-based solution exhibited an effective antimicrobial action against all these microbes as compared to the nanogold solution. Nearly 100 per cent mortality of aedes aegypti mosquito larva was obtained in the water-insoluble films, while the films of gold-based nanocomposite revealed 86 – 98% mortality,” explained Dinesh Amalnerkar.
According to statistics provided by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, there were a total of 5,01,31 cases of dengue and 1,87,829 cases of chikungunya in the country during 2013 – 2017 (until December 17).
While, the bio-nanocomposite material could restrict the growth of aedes aegypti, other infections like flavivirus, malaria, yellow fever, filariasis, schistosomiasis and Japanese encephalitis could automatically be curbed and effectively controlled, highlighted co-researcher prof. Haiwon Lee, Hanyang University.
Besides preventing mosquito breeding, Chaudhari is of the opinion that farmers from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir could greatly benefit from the sale of mulberry silk. "Since this tree can bear fruits at regular intervals, a cultivator can get an assured income which will support his regular income from the farm produce," Chaudhari added.
Yet another benefit of using this film, the study team claims, is that it is biodegradable. The team also tested the water for wheat cultivation and there were no side effects on it.