2013  •   Physical and LIfe Sciences

Nanostructured Selenium — A novel material for preventing bacterial biofilm growth on various materials

Lead Presenter: Qi Wang

Bacterial infections are commonly found in hospital environment, such as forming biofilms on various medical devices, bacteria attachment on the wall paper of the clinic room resulting in cross contamination during flu seasons and contamination of hands caused by paper towels hanging in sink splash zones. Because of forming a hydrated polymeric matrix, bacteria in biofilms are much more tolerant to disinfecting operations and antibiotic therapies than planktonic bacteria, making these treatments less effective or ineffective. In this study, selenium nanoparticles were synthesized and coated on materials using a simple fast precipitation method. The amount, roughness, adhesion and other properties of the nano-sized coatings were characterized. By coating with selenium nanoparticles, the materials, specifically polycarbonate and paper towels, were introduced with antibacterial properties inhibiting bacterial growth. The results showed that the selenium nanoparticles coated on the materials were well distributed semi spherical and 50-100nm in diameter. Most importantly, selenium coatings significantly inhibited Staphylococcus aureus growth to 27% and 10% after 72 hours on polycarbonate and paper towels, respectively, compared to the uncoated materials. Therefore, this study suggested that coating materials with selenium nanoparticles is a fast and effective way to reduce bacterial infections, revealing a promising nano-selenium based method to prevent bacterial biofilm infections on various materials.