Skip to Content

Antibiotics, Heal Thyself

Every year, more than 20 million kilograms of antibiotics are released into the environment in human and animal waste. Manure from antibiotics-fed farm animals, for example, is often spread on fields. These releases are an important factor in the development of new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To attack the problem, chemists at Wayne State University have synthesized an antibiotic that chemically self-degrades after several hours of exposure to light.

Wayne State researcher Shahriar Mobashery calls this the first example of an “antibiotic that destroys itself.” Mobashery attached a nitrogen-containing chemical group to a beta-lactam antibiotic, the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics. This compound itself will probably not become a drug. But Mobashery says the test should be food for thought for pharmaceutical companies looking to slow the spread of bacterial resistance.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.