An Antibacterial Coating of Nanoparticles Equals Better Bandages

Antibacterial Coating

Gold nanoparticles


Scientists have developed an antibacterial coating containing gold nanoparticles useful in anything from sportswear to bandages.

Bacterial infections are a major problem even in our “age of antibiotics”. Resistant bacteria aren’t the only serious problem, even non-resistant bacterial infections can cause serious complications. Developing new materials and routines to prevent bacterial infections could reduce suffering and save millions in health care costs for society. A new antibacterial coating developed at Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) might help reduce the number of bacterial infections.

Antibacterial Coating Containing Gold Nanoparticles

Scientists have developed a coating that is applicable on a wide variety of surfaces with excellent antiseptic properties. The coating can help reduce the number of bacterial infections in hospitals and make other items, like sportswear, more hygienic.

The coating is made in a boron solution with colloidal gold nanoparticles. After adding an agent causing polymerization the coating chemically binds to the surface of any item submerged in the solution. The gold nanoparticle coating isn’t dissolved by machine washing and comes in a variety of spiffy colors depending on how much of it, is deposited on a surface.

Lab tests of the coating using common bacteria found that the coating reduced the number of bacteria with up to 90% in only 12 hours. Not only is this coating an excellent antiseptic it’s also harmless to human cells. Tests on various human cells in cultures found that the coating is only dangerous to bacteria.

Gold nanoparticles kill bacteria by disrupting processes in the bacterial cell. The two principal ways they accomplish this is by preventing bacteria from making energy molecules (ATP) and stopping the “protein factory” of bacteria from working normally.

“Medicine is becoming more and more effective by the day. However, despite this fact, problems with bacterial infections are common in clinical practice. Patients with such complications usually require admission to hospital for up to two weeks longer than the normal patient. Not only do people suffer, but also the cost associated with hospitalization runs into thousands and millions of dollars. Dressings with our coatings could significantly reduce these problems,” says Dr. Katarzyna Wybranska

Scientists at IPC PAS is now considering using the antibacterial coating containing gold nanoparticles in gel bandages and other research applications.

Image credit: Martin via, CC BY-NC 2.0