A team led by National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) researchers yesterday announced a technique to turn herbal substances into “bio-carbon dots” for treating bacterial and viral infections, which could reduce people’s reliance on antibiotics.
As antibiotic resistance has turned some bacteria into “superbugs,” the team aims to replace more antibiotics with herbal extracts that are less toxic and have greater biocompatibility, NTOU Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology professor Huang Chih-ching (黃志清) told a news conference at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taipei.
The global antibiotics industry has only introduced one or two antibiotics per year over the past decade and the WHO has urged the development of products capable of treating bacteria with antibiotic resistance, Huang said.
Photo: Lin Hui-chin, Taipei Times
In 2015, the team extracted curative substances from herbs and developed a technique that used dry heat to turn them into bio-carbon dots, as a way to amplify their anti-inflammatory and antiviral functions, he said.
Unlike traditional Chinese herbal medicine, the team aims to add the bio-carbon dots to healthcare products, he said.
Huang said he worked with department professor Lin Han-jia (林翰佳) to develop bio-carbon dots that could be added to wound dressings to limit the growth of several bacteria, including one of the so-called superbugs — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
He also worked with department associate professor Chen Siou-yi (陳秀儀) and Chang Kung University associate professor Wang Yung-liang (王永樑) to elevate the water solubility and curative efficacy of curcumin so that it can be used to treat enteroviruses, Huang said.
The team, with the help of Chang Kung University biomedical engineering professor Lai Jui-yang (賴瑞陽), also developed a formulation of bio-carbon dots to treat bacterial keratitis, Huang said, adding that the formulation only uses one-10th of the sulfonamide typically used in eye drops, but have greater curative effect.
The team has published their findings in the journals Advanced Healthcare Materials, ACS Nano and Small.
The team is inspired by and respects the tradition of Chinese herbal medicine, Lin said, adding that it is creating a new “molecular gastronomy” of curative herbs.
The team’s technique has been patented in Taiwan and can serve as a platform for more applications, including food additives and cosmetics products, Lin said.
With the ministry’s funding, the team also founded the company Giant Bio Tech (炬銨科技), Lin added.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly