10 Weirdest Sources for Antibiotics

Old LCD Television Screens
The chemical waste inside LCD sets can be transformed into antimicrobial cleaning products. iStock/Thinkstock

Some people think that too much television rots your brain, but there may be an upside to the much-maligned medium. Old TV sets could eventually play a role in protecting you from dangerous infections.

Researchers at the University of York in England reported in 2010 that they had discovered a way of transforming a chemical compound used in making liquid crystal display (LCD) sets into an antibacterial substance. The chemical from the sets, polyvinyl-alcohol or PVA, was found to destroy microbes such as E. coli and some strains of Staphylococcus aureus.

In order to convert the chemical waste into an antibiotic, researchers heated and cooled the PVA, then dehydrated it with ethanol. Next, they added silver nanoparticles to enhance its antimicrobial properties. Researchers may use the chemical to develop antimicrobial cleaning products that could reduce hospital patients' risk of infection [source: Science Daily].