By Ushanandini Mohanraj
I often wonder about how crippled a smoker is? The addiction is so strong that even will power aint enough to break free. I have heard about stuffs like nicotine patches, electronic cigarettes, meditation, etc. But in majority of the cases these are not fruitful. A vaccine meant to arouse an immune response to nicotine wasn’t successful either. But what if we use an enzyme to break down nicotine before it gives you that excitement or the buzzzzz?
Kim Janda, a chemist and immunologist at The Scripps Research Institute reports a bacteria that uses nicotine as its sole source of carbon and nitrogen.
Bacterium uses a nicotine-chomping enzyme. So Janda and his colleagues added the enzyme to mouse serum, doped with a cigarette’s worth of nicotine. The enzyme was stable at human body temperature and was able to cut the half-life of nicotine from a couple hours to less than 15 minutes hence accelerating nicotine’s disappearance.
This method sounds great. However we cannot forget the fact that our body generates immune response to bacterial enzymes. If somehow this could be counteracted, this would be a totally new technique for curbing nicotine addiction.
Let bacteria smoke it out!