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Antibacterial stainless steel can prevent the spread of superbugs

Antibacterial stainless steel can prevent the spread of superbugs

Posting in Design

Researchers developed a way to create antibacterial stainless steel, so it can kill bacteria and still be strong enough to withstand regular cleaning.

Superbugs are a huge problem in hospitals. As I've mentioned before, scientists have been working on a number of ways to combat the spread of the potentially deadly pathogens, making anti-pathogenic drugs and a coating that can kill MRSA upon contact.

Engineers at the University of Birmingham designed stainless steel that is resistant to bacteria. It turns out a surface made with silver, nitrogen and oxygen can keep bacteria at bay.

The technique is called Active Screen Plasma (ASP). Scientists use ASP to build a hybrid metal surface. So when silver is put into a stainless steel surface, it can give the metal the ability to fight off bacteria. Nitrogen and carbon make the new material harder to the touch, so that when it goes through cleaning it can resist normal wear and tear.

Using the surface in hospitals to prevent the spread of superbugs is only scratching the surface. What if medical equipment or surfaces in kitchens were covered in this antibacterial stainless steel?

"Our technique means that we avoid coating the surface, instead we modify the top layers of the surface," Hanshan Dong, professor at University of Birmingham, said in a statement.

via Antibacterial Stainless Steel Created by Birmingham Engineers [University of Birmingham]

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech,, and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure