Scientists work to fight MRSA on the atomic level

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A new scientific development could help defeat methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other hard-to-kill bugs often found in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings.

Researchers successfully tested their new anti-microbial agents on MRSA and seven other infection diseases. The ionic liquids are also easily manipulated to make them safe for humans, according to researchers. The study appears in the recent issue of the journal Green Chemistry.

MRSA and other such infectious agents often create something called a biofilm, which makes them nearly impervious to common antiseptics, disinfectants and similar cleaning agents, according to researchers at Queen's University Belfast. Ionic liquids, however, appear to demolish those biofilms, effortlessly killing entire colonies of MRSA and even preventing their regrowth. Ionic liquids are similar to salt, in that they are comprised entirely of ions, which are electrically charged atoms. But while salt needs to be heated to 800 degrees centigrade (or 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit), these new ionic liquids can be used at room temperature.