Copper Antimicrobial Coatings

Antimicrobial and antifungal properties of copper are a subject of serious research. Researchers have also been actively showing the natural properties of copper in contact with various microorganisms that threaten public health through infections. The copper compounds used for food processing and pharmaceuticals belong to this category. Copper is thus found in all kinds of drinking water, milk, cheese, ice cream, some vegetables, and meat. In connection to the food and beverage industry, some researchers even believe that copper may be linked to the increase of intestinal cancer rates.

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Antimicrobial property: Of course, we cannot talk about the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of copper if we do not discuss the pathogenic potential of certain strains of E. coli. The pathogenic potential of E. coli is rooted in the ability of these bacteria to adhere to copper ions present in the intestinal tract. These bacteria may grow in the gastrointestinal tract to the extent that they become a problem for patients with compromised immune systems or when such patients are under long-term antibiotics. Certain strains of E. coli belong to a family called Salmonella. These bacteria are known to be pathogenic in the sense that they produce the toxins glycogen and pepsin. These toxins are believed to have the ability to destroy the intestinal lining, making the patient prone to other infections. In numerous studies, copper has been demonstrated to have a strong antimicrobial effect against several E. coli strains. 

Antimicrobial effect: Of course, no single copper compound has all the antimicrobial properties. Several different combinations of copper are reported to have antibacterial efficacy, and most of them belong to the sulfated group of copper salts. The Antimicrobial activity of some copper salts can be enhanced by adding oxygen to the solution. However, this addition increases the solubility of the compounds, thus rendering them less effective in antibacterial agents.

Copper and MRSA coin infecting potential: Another research claim relates the use of copper to inhibit the interaction of MRSA bacteria with healthy human cells. Researchers claim that a combination of copper and silver is sufficient to inhibit the adherence of MRSA bacteria to human cells. According to scientists, the mixture is enough to prevent the bacteria from growing. The main article in this series discusses other research on copper’s antimicrobial efficacy. This leading article covers a few of the main findings in this area.

Antimicrobial Effect: The primary agent involved in this test was Streptococcus salivarius, one of the most common strains of staph bacteria. The study claims that when Streptococcus salivarius was placed in an area of high copper surface ivity, it was killed more quickly than those in a control area with lower surface ivity. Furthermore, those infected with MRSA who were placed in a room with high copper concentration were more resistant to infection than those in a control area with lower copper concentration. Thus, this study supports the belief that copper has antimicrobial properties.

Antifungal Properties: Some evidence suggests that copper can inhibit the growth of yeast. Methylsulfonylmethane, commonly known as Sulfamethoxazole, is the active ingredient in many antimicrobial soaps. Unfortunately, the soap fails to kill MRSA bacteria or fungi when used on healthy human volunteers. When tested on animals, however, Sulfamethoxazole displayed significant antifungal activity. The antimicrobial effect was probably due to the presence of a sulfur compound that is present in the antimicrobial complex.

Copper is antimicrobial and antibacterial in various ways. Antifungal experiments with copper alloys showed effectiveness against a range of staph bacteria and fungi, including MRSA. Additionally, copper has been shown to inhibit the growth of all types of yeast, including candida. In experiments with yeast, streptomycin and other antimicrobial agents were ineffective against copper alloys. Copper is also indicated for arthritis treatment, but further studies must be conducted before knowing if this is appropriate therapy.