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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

I mportance of microorganisms
azarsh Reply
microbiology is the study of micro organisms those been unicellular multicellular or acelluar
Nwakaego Reply
what is microbiology
Ebuka Reply
why study microbiology
David Reply
to know the cause of certain disease and how to cure them
Racheal
without micro, medicines in term of diagnostic and cure would be far away from realizing its objectives
Louisiaste
It's help to give the best medication.
Olayinka
Unvin Prisca the immune system
Gyabaa Reply
immune system is a complex of organ tissues and specialized cells which identify or kill the pathogens.
Mohammad
Thanks
shamim
explain to me the pathogenesis of plasmodium
Angelo
what is difference between bacillus and ecoil
Rymes Reply
similarities between prokaryotic cell and eukaryotic cell
Ednah Reply
Eukaryotic cells contain membrane-bound organelles, including a nucleus. ... Prokaryotic cells do not contain a nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelle. Prokaryotes include two groups: bacteria and another group called archaea.
Priya
thanks
Sarpong
what is different between plasma and serum?
Alif
difference between plasma and serum is that plasma is liquid n serum is fluid
Priya
what is microbiology
Eliham
what is the diseases caused by the microorganisms
Emmanuel
both cells have plasma membrane, which services as a barrier between the inside of the cell and outside. both prokaryotes and eukaryotes have ribosomes. they receive messages from messanger RNA molecules, telling them what proteins the cell needs.
Abdinur
Thanks
Dominic
Some bacteria infection
Dominic
what is the name given to infection got from the hospital
Mukisa
Nosocomial infection
Gifty
what is the apportion
Riyaaq
what is the main functions of organelles
Ishaq
what is main function of right and left side of the brain.
Theophile
Salifu. microbiology is the study of oganisms that are too small for the naked eyes to see. this include bacteria
Theophile
Cabdi. apportion is to divide or share out
Theophile
yap
bako
what is the parasitic helminths?
bako
what are pathogens
Oluka Reply
any disease causing microorganism that can invade the body and cause harm
famuyiwa
hepatitis b
Oluka
what's da answer
Oluka
any diseases that course harmful to body
Musa
hepatitis is usually implementery of the liver and is commonly course by virus infection
Musa
a type of virus that causes severe illness lasting from two to six weeks it may cause massive lived necrosis and cirrhosis
famuyiwa
hepatitis B are transmitted when in contact with body fluid such as blood,semen,varginal secration that contain the hepatitis b virus
Musa
I understand necrosis,means death of all cell or injury of blood supply, but what is cirrhosis pls
Musa
sorry meant liver cirrhosis
famuyiwa
good evening all
Billy
ok liver damage
Musa
I have a question
Billy
Hey welcome all of you...i think you are discussing about Micro-organisms..what does it Micro?
Gazu
how about, scabies (bacteria) yeah can some one gist me abt it
Billy
sorry what doest it mean Micro organism?
Gazu
microorganism are minute living organisms found almost everywhere. they can be autotrophic heterotrophic or chemotrophic
famuyiwa
Tell me about enzyme kinetics
Jaypal
wowoww thanks a lot farmuyiwa Alice
Gazu
have anyone colony pigmentation of different types of bacteria such as Aeromonas, Edwardsiella, vibros,
Sadiqur
yes dear sadiqur Bacterias are live in everywhere.. .
Gazu
microorganisms are arganism that cannot been seen with 👀 until by the use of microscope
Musa
microorganisms are arganism that cannot been seen with 👀 until by the use of microscope
Musa
yhea organisms are organisms they are naked eye/can't seen by our eyes
Gazu
and scabies are one of the most common skin condition that can course itches and raches.
Musa
and also scabies are not infection, but an infestation
Musa
my Q is what is the contribution of van-leeuwenhoek in field of microbiology
Musa
Antony van leevenhoek is father of microbiology.
Jaypal
Anton Van leewun hook is discovered Microscope it's true or not? who can brief me please
Gazu
micro organisms are organism that cannot be seen with an aided eyes ,but by the use of microscope
Ssmuel
Yes.. He discover first microscope. He take 2 lence at a time and he saw the plant cells... Thus he was called father of microbiology
Jaypal
who examined water from a bathtub and discovered microbes
famuyiwa
for instance any type of Stagnant water is creat there are d/t tupes of small animals.. so those animals are called Micro organism?
Gazu
thank you javpal for Describing.
Gazu
Hi the father of microbiology is Louis Pasteur
bako
Then the father of medical microbiology is Robert Koch
bako
can you please differentiate between vacuoles and inclusion bodies
Noor Reply
vacuoles consists of watery solution called cell sap while bodies are organelles
Prince
5 difference please
Noor
Archaea is an odd type of bacteria that live in extreme environments; high salt, high temperature etc. usually called extremophiles.
Danesia Reply
you know anyone that has delt with enterobacter agglomerans.
Vernon
it is a type of gram negative bacteria and its ubiquitous mostly isolated from plant stuffs and also from faecal material of animals. I heard the name pantoea . it is bacillus in structure.
Sujan
OLUKA MARTIN
Oluka
What are the classification of microorganisms
Portia Reply
Basic classification are eukaryotic and prokaryotic..
micro organisms are classified into three namely: Archaea, eukaryote and prokaryotic organisms
Blandine
Yay that's right
what is archaea
Ateeq
I've got an issue with the message view
Frank Reply
Is there any effective way to learn microbiology.
Frank Reply
I have some basic knowledge of biology. I mean i'm totally beginner in that field.
Frank
Assuming that i'm interested in neuroscience. What is the best way to master that particular subject.
Frank
Hi
Can you wait me just a minute
Iam apologies for guidance you in neuroscience.. I'm not physician.. I'm microbiologist
My pleasure to join to you
Let's begin a conversation
Frank Reply
What would be saying
?
Akram
do you know anything about microbiology
diana
I have so much studying to catch up on🙄
Britnee
any study tips
Britnee
Yas of course
What would you like to know
well i'm studying Pharmacy second year and i just started With Microbiology
diana
if you have any basics to tell us 🤷🏻‍♀️ would be helpful
diana
Yas, first you must know that you will have a very easy lecture..
In second stage you will try to learn the type of microbiology
A simple definition for microbiology
In second stage you will try to learn the type of microbiology.. you must learn the bacteria..its structure.. Classification of bacteria according to shape..
It's so easy

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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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