Thursday, May 7, 2009

Clay minerals in soil have antibacterial properties

Clay minerals are a major component of soils. They are an important source of negative charge which enable the soil to hold nutrients and pollutants. In recent years, the medicinal effect of clay minerals has gained increased interest among medical researchers.

In a recent paper in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Haydel et al. (2008) reported:
"The capacity to properly address the worldwide incidence of infectious diseases lies in the ability to detect, prevent, and effectively treat these infections. Therefore, identifying and analyzing inhibitory agents are worthwhile endeavors in an era when few new classes of effective antimicrobials have been developed. The use of geological nanomaterials to heal skin infections has been evident since earliest recorded history, and specific clay minerals may prove valuable in the treatment of bacterial diseases."

The researchers found that specific clay mineral products have antibacterial properties which have potential to treat numerous human bacterial infections.

Haydel SE, CM Remenih, and LB Williams. 2008. broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activities of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 61: 353-361.

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