Silver bullet for superbugs

05 January 2007

Hospital and GP surgery hygiene could be revolutionised by a new antibacterial coating containing silver, devised by London based scientists. 

The news is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Professor Ivan Parkin and a team at University College London have based their film coating on titanium dioxide, a photocatalyst with known antimicrobial properties. 

To improve its effectiveness the team added silver oxide nanoparticles into the film and used a technique called "sol-gel technology" to adhere the film to surfaces.

Anti-bacterial handwash

The coatings are extremely effective at killing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus - which is responsible for a variety of conditions including MRSA, boils and toxic shock syndrome.

Prof Parkin said: "Our aim was to prepare coatings that can reduce microbial infection - especially MRSA infections - in a hospital environment.

"Hand washing and basic hygiene can combat MRSA, but this is of little use if the hospital environment is heavily contaminated."

The team are now further developing the technology, with the aim of getting the coatings mass produced and bought by hospitals and clinics around the world.

Prof Parkin said: "Future challenges include getting the coatings to work in both dark and light conditions, and being able to coat plastic surfaces.

"There are many benefits to the product, including its robustness and stability for cleaning and reuse."

with thanks to Michelle Zgraggen for the original article


K Page, R G Palgrave, I P Parkin, M Wilson, S L P Savin and A V Chadwick, J. Mater. Chem. 2007, 17, 95, DOI: 10.1039/b611740f

Fighting the spread of superbugs

An antimicrobial coating has been developed to combat bacterial infections.

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