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Patent Pick: Elbowing Out the Microbial Competition

September 15, 2016 | Contact Author | By: Rachel Grabenhofer
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Keywords: microbe | skin | S. aureus | S. epidermidis | The State University of New York | antibacterial

Abstract: As anyone who's a sibling or has kids knows: there's competition for real estate in the back seat of a car. And it's fierce; pushing, elbowing and crossing imaginary boundaries. Inventors from The State University of New York have applied this struggle to a topical that uses good microbes to drive out unwanted ones from the skin.

According to this patent application, the microbiome in human skin includes a variety of microorganisms, of which staphylococci, corynebacteria and propionibacteria are some of the most prominent. These bacteria act upon odorless precursors in sweat and produce sugars, sugar amines, amino acids and short chain carboxylic acids (SCCAs). Some of these materials are further degraded into products that include odorants and are therefore associated with cutaneous odor.

Staphylococcus aureus in particular is well-known to cause invasive infection in humans. It can be widespread and fatal, and antibiotics used against it have limited success. Methicillin is effective but limited due to adaptation, which can result in the emergence of MRSA. 

The inventors on a new patent application therefore devised a topical means to selectively inhibit S. aureus growth: by making it compete with S. epidermidis.

Compositions for altering human cutaneous microbiome to increase growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis and reduce Staphylococcus aureus proliferation
U.S. Patent Application 20160263154
Publication date: Sept. 15, 2016
Assignee: The Research Foundation for The State University of New York

This patent application describes an antibacterial composition based on arginine bicarbonate and zinc carbonate plus one or more excipients that is administered for the modification of cutaneous microflora—to inhibit the growth of pathogenic S. aureus bacteria by promoting the growth of non-pathogenic S. epidermidis bacteria.