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Microwaves to improve drug delivery

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A team of Swinburne researchers has shown that low-temperature microwaves can be used to open up pores in bacterial cells, which could lead to significant improvements in the design of drug delivery systems.

The study, co-authored by Dean of Swinburne’s Faculty of Life and Social Sciences Professor Russell Crawford, has been published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology and highlighted by Microbes, both publications of the American Society of Microbiology.

According to Professor Crawford the research conducted by the faculty’s Nano-BioTech Group showed that, when exposed to an 18 GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic field, E. coli cells ingested sugar molecules from the solution surrounding them.

“This showed us that the microwave treatment was opening up pores in the bacterial cells, allowing sugar molecules to cross the cellular membrane.”

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