Unique coating kills 99 percent bugs

May 11th, 2012 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, May 11 (IANS) Scientists have developed a killer coating that destroys 99 percent of the bugs and fungi on contact, potentially opening the way to kill resistent superbugs.

The anti-bacterial coating killed superbugs such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which infects the upper respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts; and Staphylococcus aureus, linked with infections ranging from boils or abscesses to deadly diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis.

The coating, developed by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is now being used by two companies: a contact lens manufacturer and a company specialising in animal care products, the journal Nature Materials reported.

The brainchild of Mary Chan, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Nanyang, the coating is made from Dimethyldecylammonium Chitosan methacrylate, according to a university statement.

This “sponge-like” polymer holds a positive charge, which attacks bugs having a negative charge on their cell walls. During a contact with the coating, cell walls are ’sucked’ into the nanopores, causing them to rupture, thus killing the bacterium.

“The coating can also be applied on biomedical objects, such as catheters and implants to prevent bacterial infections, which is a serious cause of concern as many bacteria are now developing resistance to antibiotics - currently our main source of treatment for infections,” Chan said.

The next step is to extend its use in a wide range of biomedical and consumer products, including utensils and cutlery, as it is harmless to human cells. This is an alternative solution which could replace antibiotics, currently the main defence against bacteria - now powerless against super bugs.

This research for a broad-spectrum anti-microbial coating was first sparked off by Chan wanting to find an effective way to combat bacteria and fungi on contact lenses which could cause corneal infections that could lead to permanent visual damage.

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