Bacteria-resistant film shrugs off the superbugs
In environments ranging from hospitals to food preparation areas, it's vitally important to keep surfaces as bacteria-free as possible. A new material could definitely help, as it's claimed to repel even antibiotic-resistant "superbug" microbes.
Developed at Canada's McMaster University, the substance takes the form of a transparent plastic film that's reportedly flexible, durable and inexpensive to manufacture. The idea is that it could be shrink-wrapped onto frequently-touched items such as door handles, IV stands and railings – it could also be used in the packaging of food.
Drawing inspiration from the hydrophobic (water-repelling) microstructure of the lotus leaf, the film's surface is made up of microscopic wrinkles that keep both liquid droplets and bacteria from making a solid contact. As a result, when either of these land on the material, they simply bounce off.
In order to boost its repellant qualities, the material is additionally dipped in a liquid fluorine-based chemical.
Lab tests have shown that the film warded off almost all antibiotic-resistant MRSA and Pseudomonas bacteria that were applied to its surface. The university is now looking for industry partners who may be interested in commercializing the material.
"We can see this technology being used in all kinds of institutional and domestic settings," says Asst. Prof. Tohid Didar, who led the study along with Assoc. Prof. Leyla Soleymani. "As the world confronts the crisis of anti-microbial resistance, we hope it will become an important part of the anti-bacterial toolbox."
Source: McMaster University