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Heavy metals

Some of the first chemical disinfectants and antiseptics to be used were heavy metals . Heavy metals kill microbes by binding to proteins, thus inhibiting enzymatic activity ( [link] ). Heavy metals are oligodynamic, meaning that very small concentrations show significant antimicrobial activity. Ions of heavy metals bind to sulfur-containing amino acids strongly and bioaccumulate within cells, allowing these metals to reach high localized concentrations. This causes proteins to denature.

Heavy metals are not selectively toxic to microbial cells. They may bioaccumulate in human or animal cells, as well, and excessive concentrations can have toxic effects on humans. If too much silver accumulates in the body, for example, it can result in a condition called argyria , in which the skin turns irreversibly blue-gray. One way to reduce the potential toxicity of heavy metals is by carefully controlling the duration of exposure and concentration of the heavy metal.

a) photo of a copper door handle. B) Picture of silver forks. C) Picture of an incubator d) picture of Listerine mouthwash. E) Picture of a person with gray skin.
Heavy metals denature proteins, impairing cell function and, thus, giving them strong antimicrobial properties. (a) Copper in fixtures like this door handle kills microbes that otherwise might accumulate on frequently touched surfaces. (b) Eating utensils contain small amounts of silver to inhibit microbial growth. (c) Copper commonly lines incubators to minimize contamination of cell cultures stored inside. (d) Antiseptic mouthwashes commonly contain zinc chloride. (e) This patient is suffering from argyria, an irreversible condition caused by bioaccumulation of silver in the body. (credit b: modification of work by “Shoshanah”/Flickr; credit e: modification of work by Herbert L. Fred and Hendrik A. van Dijk)

Mercury

Mercury is an example of a heavy metal that has been used for many years to control microbial growth. It was used for many centuries to treat syphilis. Mercury compounds like mercuric chloride are mainly bacteriostatic and have a very broad spectrum of activity. Various forms of mercury bind to sulfur-containing amino acids within proteins, inhibiting their functions.

In recent decades, the use of such compounds has diminished because of mercury’s toxicity. It is toxic to the central nervous, digestive, and renal systems at high concentrations, and has negative environmental effects, including bioaccumulation in fish. Topical antiseptics such as mercurochrome , which contains mercury in low concentrations, and merthiolate , a tincture (a solution of mercury dissolved in alcohol) were once commonly used. However, because of concerns about using mercury compounds, these antiseptics are no longer sold in the United States.

Silver

Silver has long been used as an antiseptic. In ancient times, drinking water was stored in silver jugs. N. Silvestry-Rodriguez et al. “Silver as a Disinfectant.” In Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology , pp. 23-45. Edited by GW Ware and DM Whitacre. New York: Springer, 2007. Silvadene cream is commonly used to treat topical wounds and is particularly helpful in preventing infection in burn wounds. Silver nitrate drops were once routinely applied to the eyes of newborns to protect against ophthalmia neonatorum , eye infections that can occur due to exposure to pathogens in the birth canal, but antibiotic creams are more now commonly used. Silver is often combined with antibiotics, making the antibiotics thousands of times more effective. B. Owens. “Silver Makes Antibiotics Thousands of Times More Effective.” Nature June 19 2013. http://www.nature.com/news/silver-makes-antibiotics-thousands-of-times-more-effective-1.13232 Silver is also commonly incorporated into catheters and bandages, rendering them antimicrobial; however, there is evidence that heavy metals may also enhance selection for antibiotic resistance. C. Seiler, TU Berendonk. “Heavy Metal Driven Co-Selection of Antibiotic Resistance in Soil and Water Bodies Impacted by Agriculture and Aquaculture.” Frontiers in Microbiology 3 (2012):399.

Questions & Answers

write the life cycle of HIV
Firomsa Reply
describe the internal and external structure of prokaryotic cell in terms of there appearance and functions
Lenia Reply
compare and contrast similar structures found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
Lenia
control of microorganisms
ISTEFAZUL Reply
how can a doctor treat a person affected by endospore forming bacteria in his/her wound?
Mambo Reply
a 28 years old woman come to your clinic with complain of fever painful genital blisters which express clear fluid when ruptured burning sensation around the bristers what is the diagnosis?
Ramadhani Reply
genital herpes caused by a virus called herpe simplex virus
Doris
what is the reference between selective medium and differential medium?
Tony Reply
the micro flora of air is transient why
Princess
Hello.... Am new here
essien Reply
welcome essien
Muhammad
welcome essien
Beka
classification of gram positive
lissa Reply
classify gram positive
lissa
catalase test is done to differentiate between staph and strep. as staph is catalase positive while strep is catalase negative then staph is differentiate further on coagulase positive and coagulase negative. staph aureus is coagulase positive while staph epidermidis is coagulase negative.
Muhammad
gram positive staph is further differentiated on sensitivity test and manitol salt fermentation test while gram positive strep is differentiated on hemolysis pattern
Muhammad
more about gramm positive
lissa
please
lissa
ok
Blessing
am back any gist
Blessing
taxonomy
Rahul
can i use the graph of bacterial growth for my master's thesis?
Christoph Reply
facultative anaerobic bavteria gives uniform turdibity in nutrient broth why?
Princess Reply
oils and waxes are not sterilized in autoclave
Princess
what is the function of paraffin
Muhammad
@ MAHI because they can grow all over the media from surface to the bottom as they can utilize oxygen or conduct fermentation in its absence.
Online
2.@MAHI Autoclave uses steam under pressure. The steam cannot penetrate through oil and wax. Thus, dry heat sterilization is preferred than autoclave .
Online
thnku
Nadiya
how nutirent agar can converted into blood agar
Princess
thank you
Princess
take a nutrient agar ........and add 5ml blood and put in it ...........!
Nadiya
nutrient agar +blood 5ml+ distilled water =blood agar .
Nadiya
mixed wellllll
Nadiya
hi
Rahul
why agar is not a neutrient source?
Shimul
because it's a general purpose agar only use for growing bacteria
Richa
way is antigen
opaleye
what is antigen
opaleye
antigen is a foreign body that cause activation of antibody?
ASNAKE
Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.
Shimul
thanks for that
opaleye
what is pharmacology
Luyenu
a science that studies about the drug
ASNAKE
hello ever one
Sayid
y
Abdul
Work hard
Anigor
y
Abdul
thanks alot
Luyenu
What is the major different between gram positive and gram negative bacteria.
Asikur
bacteria kya hai
Mala
content of their cell wall
Doris
koi mujhse basic microbiology ki study k Lea book suggest kro .
Richa
Harley prescott
Vikas
what are the five predisposing factors of opportunistic infections
Asher Reply
1. long term exposure to diseases, that the body immunity weakens.
prosper
2. Nature Of some diseases to weaken body immunity such as, AIDS.
prosper
3. Use of immuno-suppresive drugs.
prosper
anyone... need a hand here 🙋😞
prosper
Low immune is the major cause eg for kaposis sarcoma
Davismith
suitable conditions e.g temp,
Muhammad
what os gnormal flora
kifayat Reply
morphological and genetic classification of bacteria
Potter Reply
what is the morphogical
Bupe
h
Sudhir
morphologycal is defined as relating to the branch of biology that deals with the form of living organisms,and with relationship between their structures.
Nadiya
relating to the form or structure of things .
Nadiya
what is the meaning of lessions
oluwa
i am frim Afghanistan.
wahidullah Reply
iam from iraq
Haidar
and i'm from pakistan
Muhammad
Nice
Amina
what's about the qualification
Muhammad
Hlo
Asiya
Hmm
Number
Almustafa Muhammad from Nigeria
Mujtafa
am ustaz Abdulsalam from Ghana
ustaz
am Bupe Chifita from Zambia
Bupe
what is microbiology
Bupe
is the study of invisible micro organism
Mujtafa
microbiology is the study of very too small organisms which we can't see with naked eyes ......in other words ....study of microorganism is called microbiology.
Nadiya
Hello! How Can Microorganisms Be Isolated From The Skin?.. 5 ways if possible. (briefly)
prosper
from skin swabbing is the prefer method worldwide
Muhammad
thanks Muhammad Nauman very much!
prosper
hi
Meek
hi Meek
prosper
are there any other ways pals?
prosper
hi prosper
Meek
hello Meek Mild.
prosper
Any question or ideas, Meek?😊
prosper
and if a patient have any blister or abscess on the skin then first cut the blister or abscess. inside material is taking by syringe.
Muhammad
in case of fingernail or toenails simply cut a small piece of nail and culture on the appropriate media at a required temperature and time
Muhammad
Again, thanks Mr. Muhammad! I appreciate the help.
prosper
you welcom prosper 😊
Muhammad
what are the media use for skin swab?
Sieh-Mlanwin
blood and macckonkey mostly usededia for skin bacteria
Muhammad
used media*
Muhammad
@ SIEH mostly fungal infection occurs in skin so SDA ( Sabouraud Dextrose Agar) or MEA ( Malt extract agar) are common.
Online
thanks
Sieh-Mlanwin
Microbiologicam source of vitamins
Bachi Reply
what do you mean?
Md
that's example?
Md
hi everyone
Muhammad
such as. c/s media
Md
hmm hlw
Md
just tell me about that ?
Md
where are u from
Muhammad

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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