Metals versus microbes: The biocidal effect of metalloacid-coated surfaces

November 13, 2012

A new study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control reports of a phenomenon that could help control the spread of hospital-acquired infections: a surface-coating of metalloacids kills off microbial strains, even in multidrug-resistant microorganisms.

Hospital infections are a major public health concern, causing an estimated 99,000 deaths a year in the USA alone. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces greatly helps reduce these infections. In addition, previous studies have indicated that metalloacids could limit the ability of microorganisms to survive by producing oxonium ions (H3O+), which creates an acidic pH.

In this novel study, the authors from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Tours and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besançon, France, set out to test the biocidal ability of molybdenum trioxide metalloacid-coated surfaces. To do this, they contaminated metalloacid-coated and non-coated surfaces by exposing them to microbial suspensions of eleven different microorganisms responsible for .

The microorganisms tested were two strains, Clostridium difficile, three extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae strains, vancomycin-resistant vanA Enterococcus faecium, Psuedomonas aeruginosa, multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii, and two fungal strains of and Aspergillus fumigatus.

The authors found that the metalloacid-coated surfaces exhibited significant in all non-spore-forming organisms tested within 2-6 hours of initial contact. The coated surfaces greatly limited the survival of microorganisms, whereas microorganism numbers remained substantial on non-coated surfaces. Interestingly, spore-forming organisms were completely unaffected by the coated surfaces.

The biocidal reaction is thought to be caused by the diffusion H3O+ ions through membranes, resulting in altered enzyme transport systems and inhibited metabolic activity.

Lead author Nathalie van der Mee-Marquet thinks that the findings of this study could greatly aid hospitals in controlling infection. She said, "In contrast to disinfectants and antibiotics, microbial resistance to metalloacids may not emerge, and they should be safe for human use. A molybdenum trioxide coating may be an effective and permanent means of minimizing microbial contamination between hospital cleaning procedures, particularly against multidrug-resistant organisms."

van der Mee-Marquet suggests that further studies should evaluate the benefits of the coating on medical devices and gauge whether it can be used as a complementary measure in hospitals for preventing the spread of nosocomial infections.

Explore further: Copper reduces infection risk by more than 40 percent

More information: Biocidal activity of metalloacid-coated surfaces against multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Nathalie Tetault, Houssein Gbaguidi-Haore, Xavier Bertrand, Roland Quentin and Nathalie Van Der Mee-Marquet, Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control (in press)

Related Stories

Copper reduces infection risk by more than 40 percent

July 1, 2011

Professor Bill Keevil, Head of the Microbiology Group and Director of the Environmental Healthcare Unit at the University of Southampton, has presented research into the mechanism by which copper exerts its antimicrobial ...

Recommended for you

Gut environment could reduce severity of malaria

February 8, 2016

Microorganisms in the gut could play a role in reducing the severity of malaria, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Louisville.

Easier diagnosis for fungal infection of the lungs

January 18, 2016

A new clinical imaging method developed in collaboration with a University of Exeter academic may enable doctors to tackle one of the main killers of patients with weakened immune systems sooner and more effectively.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.