Researchers Create Ultimate Non-Stick Coating That Repels Everything – Even Viruses and Bacteria

Repel Wrap

Researchers at McMaster University have created a self-cleaning surface, with medical settings and food industry in mind. Credit: Georgia Kirkos, McMaster University

A self-cleaning surface that repels even the deadliest superbugs: Researchers create the ultimate non-stick coating, with medical settings and food industry in mind.

A team of researchers at McMaster University has developed a self-cleaning surface that can repel all forms of bacteria, preventing the transfer of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and other dangerous bacteria in settings ranging from hospitals to kitchens.

The new plastic surface — a treated form of conventional transparent wrap — can be shrink-wrapped onto door handles, railings, IV stands and other surfaces that can be magnets for bacteria such as MRSA and C. difficile.

The treated material is also ideal for food packaging, where it could stop the accidental transfer of bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and listeria from raw chicken, meat and other foods, as described in a paper published on December 13, 2019, by the journal ACS Nano.

The research was led by engineers Leyla Soleymani and Tohid Didar, who collaborated with colleagues from McMaster’s Institute for Infectious Disease Research and the McMaster-based Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy.

Wrap Repels Viruses and Bacteria

A new wrap developed by researchers at McMaster University repels everything that comes into contact with it, including viruses and bacteria. Credit: Georgia Kirkos, McMaster University

Inspired by the water-repellent lotus leaf, the new surface works through a combination of nano-scale surface engineering and chemistry. The surface is textured with microscopic wrinkles that exclude all external molecules. A drop of water or blood, for example, simply bounces away when it lands on the surface. The same is true for bacteria.

“We’re structurally tuning that plastic,” says Soleymani, an engineering physicist. “This material gives us something that can be applied to all kinds of things.”

The surface is also treated chemically to further enhance its repellent properties, resulting in a barrier that is flexible, durable and inexpensive to reproduce.

Leyla Soleymani

McMaster researcher Leyla Soleymani’s team developed a new plastic surface that repels all forms of bacteria and viruses. Credit: Georgia Kirkos, McMaster University

“We can see this technology being used in all kinds of institutional and domestic settings,” Didar says. “As the world confronts the crisis of anti-microbial resistance, we hope it will become an important part of the anti-bacterial toolbox.”

The researchers tested the material using two of the most troubling forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: MRSA and Pseudomonas, with the collaboration of Eric Brown of McMaster’s Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

Tohid Didar

McMaster researcher Tohid Didar was part of the team that developed a new plastic surface that repels all bacteria and viruses. Credit: Georgia Kirkos, McMaster University

Engineer Kathryn Grandfield helped the team verify the effectiveness of the surface by capturing electron microscope images showing that virtually no bacteria could transfer to the new surface.

The researchers are hoping to work with a commercial partner to develop commercial applications for the wrap.

Reference: “Flexible Hierarchical Wraps Repel Drug-Resistant Gram-Negative and Positive Bacteria” by Sara M. Imani, Roderick Maclachlan, Kenneth Rachwalski, Yuting Chan, Bryan Lee, Mark McInnes, Kathryn Grandfield, Eric D. Brown, Tohid F. Didar and Leyla Soleymani, 13 December 2019, ACS Nano.
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b06287

4 Comments on "Researchers Create Ultimate Non-Stick Coating That Repels Everything – Even Viruses and Bacteria"

  1. Gordon Jenkins | December 16, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Reply

    What do Canadians touch the most as common contact points and are rarely, if ever sanitized? Gas pump nozzles, public telephone handsets, shopping carts, shopping mall door handles, public transportation hand rails on buses,trains, stations, escalator hand rails, Bulk Barn scoops, ATM, Bank Machine, and point of Sale keypads and touch pads. What do you touch almost everyday that almost everyone else touches?

    Long term space travel and space station interiors will be swarming with bacteria, viruses and superbugs.

    This stuff is in the public interest and the Interest of World Health. It cannot and must not fall into the hands and category of Intellectual Property. It belongs to humanity.

  2. It’s about time this problem , was figured out,…. I wonder if this was brought up in shark tank lol,…would they get 5 sharks fighting for the deal ??. I see a few companies hoping it doesn’t come to market, as the products they make , would end up obsolete . ..but that’s the sign of the times , and great research teams like the ones mentioned ….. now the guy that has the patient for the forever lightbulb ? ?…. or the people that have great ideas ?,….that companies DONT want out in the market because they will be out of business ? , need to be Givin the chance to show the world what’s out their in talent
    This comment is only to be about this article , and I see the great possibilities this discovery , will do to change the world . … what I hope is the people left in charge of selling or distributing it, won’t put a price on it where it’s unaffordable . ….ya ya… they say it will be durable and inexpensive . … but if they are the only ones with a patient to make it….. than its open to someone monopolizing on it for financial gain
    The other comment said it’s for humanity . …..I agree,… let’s hope the company that produces it, doesn’t hold humanity hostage , by greed

  3. And of course, they will plow ahead and put this material on everything before thinking about whether it is leaching any dangerous chemicals into food and the environment, where it will wind up in humans.

  4. In my experience as a cleaner I have found that clean has litle if any commercial value as sanitation does not contribute to profits, at least not directly. NOBODY is willing to pay for sanitation, so how is this product going to reach public places. Case I point: hospital administrators in central bc did not think a working autoclave was neccesary to hospital operations. It took a series of complaints from a group of surgeons to the province in order to shut down surgery until the autoclave was fixed. Surgeries were backed up for months. Guess what the dollar value of the administrator’s dismissal package was. Most of us wouldn’t see that much money if we gott a lotto jackpot win.

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