Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Nanotechnology paints could kill superbugs in hospitals

New nanotechnology-based paints for walls, ceilings, and surfaces could also be used to kill hospital superbugs when fluorescent lights are switched on, according to a presentation made at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn meeting recently held at Trinity College, Dublin.

The new paints contain tiny particles of titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is the dazzling white compound often used as a brightener in commercial paints, and in powder form it’s used to mark the white lines in tennis courts. Now, scientists have discovered that nanoparticle-sized forms of TiO2 can kill bacteria and destroy dirt when they absorb ultraviolet light energy from the sun. They produce active molecules which clean up the painted surfaces.

«It would be best if the titanium was antibacterial at wavelengths of light that you find indoors, such as fluorescent light, so that paints containing the nanoparticles could be used in hospitals and other places where a clean environment is important,» said Lucia Caballero from Manchester Metropolitan U. (UK).

The researchers looked at the survival of the food poisoning bacterium Escherichia coli on different formulations of paints containing the titanium nanoparticles under different types and intensities of lights. «We found that paints containing TiO2 are more successful at killing bacteria if the concentration of the nanoparticles is stronger than in normal paint,» said Lucia Caballero, and «best results showed that all the E. coli were killed under ordinary fluorescent lights.»

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September 12, 2008 - Posted by | Nano News

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