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‘Zombie’ Bacteria Can Continue to Kill After Death

posted: 05/04/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Bacteria
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Using silver to kill bacteria is nothing new -- the practice has been widespread around the globe for thousands of years. However, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have now discovered that cells that have already died as a result of silver poisoning can continue to kill other bacterial cells.

According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, the silver ions that penetrate bacterial cell membranes remain trapped inside of the cell when it dies. Then, as the dead cell decays, the trapped silver ions are released back into the surrounding environment, where they are still capable of killing other cells.

The researchers are calling it the "zombie effect": the silver-infiltrated cells remain a danger to their neighbors even after they have died.

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