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Siberian experts find bacterial strain for cellulose production to repair skin and organs

Researchers from the Siberian Federal University (SFU) together with colleagues from the Institute of Biophysics from Siberian Branch of RAS have identified and characterized a pure strain of acetic bacteria capable of producing bacterial cellulose. For this study, the scientists utilized kombucha (tea fungus) Medusomeces gisevi. The new culture could be applied for various purposes in biomedicine.
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«Bacterial cellulose produced by the newly-cultivated bacterial strain could help fight many diseases. It could be life-saving in the event of skin lesions covering a large area, or for a trophic ulcer, or it can be used as surgical corset in the treatment of an abdominal hernia, as well as for the controlled delivery of medicines,» said Ivan Shidlovsky, the study’s co-author and PhD student at SFU’s Institute of Fundamental Biology and Biotechnology.

Acetic bacteria receives energy by means of oxidation of monatomic ethanol alcohol into acetic acid. Traditionally, various products of alcohol fermentation serve as a breeding ground. These bacteria might be obtained, for example, from flower-based nectars or fermented fruits, while in the most recent study, the scientists extracted a pure bacterial culture from a natural source known as «kombucha» or «tea fungus». The films were formed as a symbiosis of yeast and various acetic bacteria.

The new strain synthesizes bacterial cellulose and in so doing is more efficient than all analogous substances ever extracted before by scientists around the world. Moreover, it can grow under different conditions (temperature, pH, nutritional sources of carbon). According to the results of the study, an optimal medium for the cultivation of bacteria is a modified substrate containing cellulose. Under such conditions, the maximum production of bacterial cellulose during cultivation over a 7-day period is at pH 3.9 to 17 g/l.

Bacterial cellulose can be used in the paper, food, textile industries. Additionally, in contrast to the vegetable-based one, it does not contain various impurities, thus giving bacterial cellulose great prospects in biomedicine, for example, for producing traumatic coatings, prosthetic devices for blood-vessels and bone transplants.

«Due to a high biological compatibility of bacterial cellulose with living cells, it might be applied as a support for growing different tissue and engineering construction to regenerate skin, organs, and tissues,» Professor at the Chair of General Biotechnology of SFU Svetlana Prudnikova said.

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