Methods of coating diverse substrate materials with antimicrobial agents have been developed. Originally intended to reduce health risks to astronauts posed by pathogenic microorganisms that can grow on surfaces in spacecraft, these methods could also be used on Earth — for example, to ensure sterility of surgical inserts and other medical equipment. The methods involve, generally, chemical preparation of substrate surfaces to enable attachment of antimicrobial molecules to the substrate surfaces via covalent bonds. Substrate materials that have been treated successfully include aluminum, glass, a corrosion-resistant nickel alloy, stainless steel, titanium, and poly(tetrafluoroethylene). Antimicrobial agents that have been successfully immobilized include antibiotics, enzymes, bacteriocins, bactericides, and fungicides. A variety of linkage chemistries were employed. Activity of antimicrobial coatings against gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, and fungi was demonstrated. Results of investigations indicate that the most suitable combination of antimicrobial agent, substrate, and coating method depends upon the intended application.

This work was done by James R. Akse, John T. Holtsnider, and Helen Kliestik of Umpqua Research Co. for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the Johnson Commercial Technology Office at (281) 483- 3809. MSC-23467-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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