The Prehistoric Archaeology Blog is concerned with news reports featuring Prehistoric period archaeology. If you wish to see news reports for general European archaeology, please go to The Archaeology of Europe Weblog.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
How blue and green clays kill bacteria
Since prehistoric times, clays have been used by people for medicinal purposes. Whether by eating it, soaking in a mud bath, or using it to stop bleeding from wounds, clay has long been part of keeping humans healthy. Certain clays have also been found with germ-killing abilities, but how these work has remained unclear.
A new discovery by Arizona State University scientists shows exactly how two specific metallic elements in the right kinds of clay can kill troublesome bacteria that infect humans and animals.
"We think of this mechanism like the Trojan horse attack in ancient Greece," said Lynda Williams, a clay-mineral scientist at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE). "Two elements in the clay work in tandem to kill bacteria."