Surface Micropattern Limits Bacterial Contamination

Bacterial surface contamination contributes to transmission of nosocomial infections. Chemical cleansers used to control surface contamination are often toxic and incorrectly implemented. Additional non-toxic strategies should be combined with regular cleanings to mitigate risks of human error and further decrease rates of nosocomial infections. The Sharklet micropattern (MP), inspired by shark skin, is an effective tool for reducing bacterial load on surfaces without toxic additives. The studies were carried out to investigate the MP surfaces' capability to reduce colonization of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) compared to smooth control surfaces.

The MP and smooth surfaces produced in acrylic film were compared for remaining bacterial contamination and colonization following inoculation. Direct sampling of surfaces was carried out after inoculation by immersion, spray, and/or touch methods. Ultimately, a combination assay was developed to assess bacterial contamination after touch transfer inoculation combined with drying (persistence) to mimic common environmental contamination scenarios in the clinic or hospital environment. The combination transfer and persistence assay was then used to test antimicrobial copper beside the MP for the ability to reduce MSSA and MRSA challenge.

The MP reduced bacterial contamination with log reductions ranging from 87 percent to 99 percent (LR = 0.90-2.18; p < 0.05) compared to smooth control surfaces. The MP was more effective than the 99.9 percent pure copper alloy C11000 at reducing surface contamination of S. aureus (MSSA and MRSA) through transfer and persistence of bacteria. The MP reduced MSSA by as much as 97 percent (LR = 1.54; p < 0.01) and MRSA by as much as 94 percent (LR = 1.26; p < 0.005) compared to smooth controls. Antimicrobial copper had no significant effect on MSSA contamination, but reduced MRSA contamination by 80 percent (LR = 0.70; p < 0.005).

The assays developed in this study mimic hospital environmental contamination events to demonstrate the performance of a MP to limit contamination under multiple conditions. Antimicrobial copper has been implemented in hospital room studies to evaluate its impact on nosocomial infections and a decrease in HAI rate was shown. Similar implementation of the MP has potential to reduce the incidence of HAIs although future clinical studies will be necessary to validate the MP’s true impact. The research was published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control

Reference: Mann EE, Manna D, Mettetal MR, May RM, Dannemiller EM, Chung KK, Brennan AB and Reddy ST. Surface micropattern limits bacterial contamination. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2014, 3:28  doi:10.1186/2047-2994-3-28

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