Antibacterial Minerals: A Geochemical Approach to Combating Antibiotic Resistance

Keith Morrison | 19-LW-029

Project Overview

The rapid rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria is seriously threatening our ability to treat life-threatening infections. As a result, our approach to medicine and agriculture will require significant changes if we are to successfully maintain current levels of healthcare and food security. Certain naturally-occurring clays have been shown to harbor antimicrobial properties and kill antibiotic resistant bacteria. These clays have been proposed as a new paradigm for fighting the potentially devastating effects of the post-antibiotic era. However, natural samples, by their inherent properties, exhibit variable antibacterial effectiveness and the synthesis of minerals with reproducible antibacterial activity is needed. Our project has successfully produced synthetic antibacterial minerals that can kill antibiotic resistant Gram Positive and Negative human pathogens.

Mission Impact

This project advanced LLNL's core competency in bioscience and bioengneering. Our results were presented at an international conference on clay mineralogy (Euroclay 2019) and the PI (Dr. Keith Morrison) was invited to chair a session on Fe reactivity in clay minerals at the 2020 Clay Minerals Society meeting, where he will presented his antibacterial clay LW research. A record of invention and patent has been filed for this research (IL-13445). The current results are being written up for submission in the journal Scientific Advances. The results from this project are also being used to leverage additional funding from the DOE peer reviewed medical research program, the NASA space biology program and NIH.


Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Morrison KD. "The synthesis of antibacterial minerals to combat antibiotic resistance." 2020 Presentation, Clay Minerals Society Meeting; Session Co-chair, LLNL-ABS-797600.

Morrison KD, Samo T, Loots G. "Synthesizing antibacterial minerals." 2019 Presentation, Euroclay Paris, LLNL-ABS-797600.