New generation of polymers to eliminate bacteria in hospital environment

New generation of polymers to eliminate bacteria in hospital environment

One more step to prevent hospital infections. A team of researchers from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) has developed a new generation of polymers (macromolecules) with antimicrobial properties.

From the various experiments carried out in the laboratory, the new polymers, developed as part of a project whose final objective was the invention of an antibacterial coating (a kind of varnish) for application in health units, "showed a high activity against a wide range of strains indicative of activity against pathogenic bacteria and others, that is, the bacteria were exterminated when placed in contact with the polymers", explain Jorge Coelho and Paula Morais, coordinators of the study.

"By manipulating the structure of the polymer, it is possible to guarantee an effective performance against a broad spectrum of bacteria, in a completely safe way", emphasize the professors of the departments of Chemical Engineering and Life Sciences of the FCTUC, respectively.

Considering the problem of antibiotic resistance, this research is of particular relevance because it 'allows bacteria to be eliminated before transmission occurs. As is well known, a large majority of infections occur in the hospital environment, and it is therefore essential to investigate innovative ways to prevent and combat them. This new generation of polymers has demonstrated the ability to eliminate bacteria, even the most resistant, preventing their proliferation. It is a completely safe method, that uses biocompatible materials, innocuous for the human being," they emphasize.

The production method tested in the laboratory is applicable on an industrial scale, thus facilitating its introduction into the market. If all goes as planned, the researchers estimate that the new antimicrobial coating can enter the commercial circuit in two to three years.

The study is funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and has the collaboration of the Faculty of Engineering of Porto (FEUP). The results obtained were published in the prestigious scientific journal Biomacromolecules.

Main photo: By Intermedichbo - Norbert Kaiser File:Intensivstation (01) 2007-03-03.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0,

New generation of polymers to eliminate bacteria in hospital environment. 63023.jpeg

Legend of the small photo: from left to right - Patrícia Mendonça, Mariana Almeida, Jorge Coelho, Carla Dias, Madson Santos, Arménio Serra, Paula Morais.

Cristina Pinto

University of Coimbra • Faculty of Science and Technology


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