Science fiction has proved to be an interesting predictor of actual scientific marvels of the future, Dr. Rico Del Sesto, assistant professor of Chemistry at Dixie State University, told the Dixie Technical Association in their February meeting. But accompanying the futuristic scientific breakthroughs and economic progress come new environmental and health threats.

Dr. Del Sesto and his colleagues from New Mexico State are developing some patented surfactant materials that could help solve some current and future challenges. For example, China has become an textile manufacturing powerhouse, but dyes and chemicals from the process dumped into open rivers compromise water supplies for millions of people. However, Del Sesto’s Dixie State University students have participated in experiments with the surfactant which has been able to separate the dyes from the water with the potential of restoring its integrity.
Another critical challenge comes with antibiotics which have become resistant to bacteria in everything from tooth decay to MRSA. The bacteria develop a thin film which prevents antibiotics from doing their work. The new surfactant has been shown to destroy this film, thus allowing the antibiotics to break through and restore efficacy.

While the surfactant still has years of research including animal trials ahead, Dr. Del
Sesto is confident that the wide opportunities for such surfactants may be the answer to some of the threats that come with scientific and economic progress. Learn more about Dr. Rico Del Sesto at http://cactus.dixie.edu/Delsesto/Delsesto/Welcome.html.