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Potent Antibacterial Activity of Copper Embedded into Silicone and Polyurethane.


A simple, easily up-scalable swell-encapsulation-shrink technique was used to incorporate small 2.5 nm copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) into two widely used medical grade polymers, polyurethane, and silicone, with no significant impact on polymer coloration. Both medical grade polymers with incorporated CuNPs demonstrated potent antimicrobial activity against the clinically relevant bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. CuNP-incorporated silicone samples displayed potent antibacterial activity against both bacteria within 6 h. CuNP-incorporated polyurethane exhibited more efficacious antimicrobial activity, resulting in a 99.9% reduction in the numbers of both bacteria within just 2 h. With the high prevalence of hospital-acquired infections, the use of antimicrobial materials such as these CuNP-incorporated polymers could contribute to reducing microbial contamination associated with frequently touched surfaces in and around hospital wards (e.g., bed rails, overbed tables, push plates, etc.).