Chew on This: Plant Peptides Help Kill Cavities and Tooth Decay


In Pennsylvania, Penn Dental Medicine researchers found a way to prevent cavities and tooth decay with a single biomaterial topical treatment using plants that produce antimicrobial peptides. The two antimicrobial peptides were created by adding a cloned gene to a plant leaf to reprogram the chloroplasts to synthesize the protein. The challenge was that the peptides are usually expensive to make, but researchers were able to grow them in a greenhouse in the plant’s leaves, making it more cost effective than usual biopharmaceutical production. They are now looking to use it for wound healing and bone regeneration, as well as a chewing gum laced with the peptides to prevent cavities.