Washington : The use of mud or wet clay as a topical treatment for the skin – a common practice in some cultures – could help combat pathogenic bacteria in wounds, a study found.
Arizona State University researchers in Washington, USA found that at least one key had antibacterial effects against bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, including resistant strains such as CRE and MRSA.
The clay suspension was effective against a variety of bacteria in both their planktonic and biofilm state.
"We have shown that this reduced iron-containing clay can kill some bacterial strains under the laboratory conditions used, including bacteria that are cultured as biofilms, which can be particularly difficult to treat," said Robin Patel, clinical microbiologist at Mayo Clinic in the USA.
Biofilms arise when bacteria adhere to surfaces and develop a film or protective coating that makes them relatively resistant to antibiotics. 1
The study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents is preliminary and the scientists warn that only one concentration of the clay suspension has been tested.
Laboratory tests are a first step in simulating the complex environment of an actually infected wound. They also warn that not all keys are beneficial. Some could even help bacteria to grow.
More research is needed to identify and reproduce the properties of clays that are antibacterial, the researchers said.