Scientist find fungi killer in plastic

The same plastic used in disposable drink bottles could one day be used to fight fungal infections, scientists in Singapore have discovered. Scientists from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and an IBM research centre in California converted the plastic, called polyethylene terephthalate - or PET - into tiny assemblies of nanofibres. These can destroy the cell walls of fungal cells, rendering them ineffective.

The experts said that one day, the new material could be used to treat fungal infections that affect patients with weakened immune systems - such as those with cancer or HIV, and those who have had organ transplants.

The global cost of treating fungal infections is expected to reach US$6 billion (S$7.5 billion) next year.

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