Researchers in Sweden are developing a method to “hack” conducting plastics using silver nanoparticles and a small electrical current in order to prevent bacterial growth, which may benefit infection control in hospitals, according to the study in Advanced Healthcare Materials.
Hospital wards are full of plastic surfaces, plastic tubes and plastic devices, each one potentially harbouring dangerous microbes. Bacteria are capable of surviving for a long time on plastic surfaces, from which they can spread to patients and cause infections.
While both large electrical currents and high silver concentrations are known to kill bacteria, they also pose a risk to humans, which is why their use in hospitals is limited. New research lead by Professor Agneta Richter-Dahlfors at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neuroscience shows that it is not necessary to use dangerous concentrations of silver or large currents in order to kill bacteria, if these are used in combination.