Researchers at McMaster University, led by engineers Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didar, who collaborated with colleagues from McMaster’s Institute for Infectious Disease Research and the McMaster-based Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy, have made a self-cleaning plastic surface that can repel all forms of bacteria.
The substance takes the form of a transparent plastic film that's reportedly flexible, durable and inexpensive to manufacture. It is made up of microscopic wrinkles that keep both liquid droplets and bacteria from making a solid contact. The resulted substance is preventing the transfer of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and other dangerous bacteria in settings ranging from hospitals to kitchens. The new surface can be shrink-wrapped onto door handles, railings, IV stands and other surfaces that can be magnets for bacteria. The project’s co-authors are: Sara M. Imani, Roderick Maclachlan, Kenneth Rachwalski, Yuting Chan, Bryan Lee, Mark McInnes, Kathryn Grandfield and Eric D. Brown. “This material gives us something that can be applied to all kinds of things,” Soleymani, an engineering physicist, explained.
The researchers tested the material using two of the most troubling forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, MRSA and Pseudomonas. The team verified the effectiveness of the surface by capturing electron microscope images showing that virtually no bacteria could transfer to the new surface. The university is now looking for industry partners who may be interested in commercializing the material.