Fighting the spread of superbugs

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Fighting the spread of superbugs Reply with quote

An antimicrobial coating has been developed to combat bacterial infections. This type of surface could help prevent infections like MRSA spreading in hospitals, the researchers claim.

Ivan Parkin from UCL, UK, and colleagues based their coating on titanium dioxide, a photocatalyst with known antimicrobial properties. To improve the efficacy they incorporated silver oxide nanoparticulates into the film and used sol–gel technology to adhere the film to surfaces. The team found that the coatings were particularly effective at killing Gram positive organisms, such as Staphylococcus aureus a bacteria responsible for a variety of conditions including boils, toxic shock syndrome and MRSA.

‘We want to prepare coatings that can reduce microbial infection – especially MRSA infections – in a hospital environment,’ Parkin explained. Hand washing and basic hygiene can combat MRSA, but this is of little use if the hospital environment is heavily contaminated.

Peter Robertson from The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen said: ‘The coatings reported appear to have some interesting catalytic properties.’ However, he cautioned that even at 99.99% inactivation there are still some viable colonies remaining.

There are still many challenges ahead, concluded Parkin, ‘including getting coatings to work in the dark and the light and being able to coat plastic surfaces’. The team believe that there are many benefits to the product, including its robustness and stability for cleaning and reuse.

The findings were reported in a recent paper ("Titania and silver–titania composite films on glass — potent antimicrobial coatings") in Journals of Materials Chemistry (free access article).

Sources: RSC Publishing (Michele Zgraggen) & Nanowerk

Story first posted: 3rd January 2007.
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