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

November 13, 2012, BioMed Central

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 ...

Acinetobacter baumannii found growing in nearly half of infected patient rooms

November 1, 2011
Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDR-AB) was found in the environment of 48 percent of the rooms of patients colonized or infected with the pathogen, according to a new study published in the November issue of ...

Recommended for you

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Flu may be spread just by breathing, new study shows; coughing and sneezing not required

January 18, 2018
It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from ...

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.