Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin have employed a new laser-based 3-D printing method to construct microscopic structures to investigate bacterial interactions that results in infections and drug resistance. The structures, like cages or homes can be of any shape or size and are built around the bacteria in gelatin.
The resulting enclosures are porous, allowing diffusion of nutrients and signalling molecules essential for growth while restricting the escape of suspended bacterial colonies. This enables researchers to manipulate different environment and conditions for various infection studies, particularly within the human body. In a recent study, the team demonstrated the development of drug resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, a community of bacteria that causes skin infections, when in close proximity to Pseudomonas aeruginosa that is involved in cystic fibrosis.
This new method not only provides insights into the mechanisms of bacterial interactions leading to pathogenicity and drug resistance but also allows antimicrobial studies to combat infections.