Tuesday, 12 May 2020

How metal surfaces work as instant bacteria killers


Bacterial pathogens can live on surfaces for days. What if frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs could instantly kill them off?

Purdue University engineers have created a laser treatment method that could potentially turn any metal surface into a rapid bacteria killer -- just by giving the metal's surface a different texture.

In a study published in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces, the researchers demonstrated that this technique allows the surface of copper to immediately kill off superbugs such as MRSA.

The technique is not yet tailored to killing viruses such as the one responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, which are much smaller than bacteria.

Giving implants an antimicrobial surface would prevent the spread of infection and antibiotic resistance, Rahimi said, because there wouldn't be a need for antibiotics to kill off bacteria from an implant's surface.

The technique might apply to metallic alloys that also are known to have antimicrobial properties. Metals such as copper normally have a really smooth surface, which makes it difficult for the metal to kill bacteria by contact.

The laser-texturing has a dual effect: The technique not only improves direct contact, but also makes a surface more hydrophilic. For orthopedic implants, such a surface allows bone cells to more strongly attach, improving how well the implant integrates with bone. Rahimi's team observed this effect with fibroblast cells.


Due to the simplicity and scalability of the technique, the researchers believe that it could easily be translated into existing medical device manufacturing processes.

See:

Vidhya Selvamani, Amin Zareei, Ahmed Elkashif, Murali Kannan Maruthamuthu, Shirisha Chittiboyina, Davide Delisi, Zheng Li, Lirong Cai, Vilas G. Pol, Mohamed N. Seleem, Rahim Rahimi. Hierarchical Micro/Mesoporous Copper Structure with Enhanced Antimicrobial Property via Laser Surface Texturing. Advanced Materials Interfaces, 2020; 1901890 DOI: 10.1002/admi.201901890

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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