Category: antimicrobial copper

Copper’s Essential Role in Protecting Public Health



The following content is sponsored by Teck

Copper’s Essential Role in Protecting Public Health

Copper’s Essential Role in Protecting Public Health

Every day, high-touch surfaces present health risks to people in public spaces, and especially the most vulnerable in healthcare. In fact, of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, seven will get at least one healthcare-acquired or “hospital infection”.

With naturally antimicrobial properties, copper can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces within two hours of exposure and slow the spread of diseases.

In this infographic from our sponsor Teck, we explore copper’s bacteria-fighting abilities and its crucial role in public health.

How Copper Kills Bacteria

Due to its powerful antimicrobial properties, copper kills bacteria in sequential steps:

  • First, copper ions on the surface are recognized by the bacteria as an essential nutrient and enter cell.
  • Then, a lethal dose of copper ions interferes with normal cell functions.
  • Finally, the copper binds to the enzymes, impeding the cell from breathing, eating, digesting, or creating energy.

This rapid killing mechanism prevents cells from replicating on copper surfaces and significantly reduces the amount of bacteria living on the surface.

Antimicrobial copper is effective against bacteria that causes common diseases like staph infections and E. coli that causes foodborne illness. The metal continuously kills bacteria and never wears out.

Besides bacteria, researchers are currently studying copper’s impacts on the virus that causes COVID-19. A previous study suggested that SARS-CoV-2 was completely destroyed within four hours on copper surfaces, as compared to 24 hours on cardboard, and (Read more...)

Antimicrobial Copper: The Germ-fighting Metal



The following content is sponsored by Trilogy Metals.

Antimicrobial Copper: The Germ-fighting Metal

Copper has a wide range of uses in electronics, infrastructure, and energy technologies. The red metal is virtually everywhere, from the wires in our devices to the buildings we live in.

However, copper’s medicinal applications, which go back thousands of years, aren’t as widespread in the modern world.

In this infographic from our sponsor Trilogy Metals, we explore copper’s ability to fight bacteria and its expanding role in modern healthcare.

Dr. Copper: How Copper Fights Germs

Copper is naturally antimicrobial, and ancient civilizations recognized this property. The Egyptian Smith Papyrus recorded copper’s first medical use thousands of years ago. Since then, several generations have passed down their knowledge about copper’s medicinal uses.

But how does copper kill germs?

According to the Copper Development Association, copper surfaces affect bacteria in a series of sequential steps:

#1: Breaching the Cell

Every bacterium’s outer cell membrane is characterized by an electrical micro-current, known as the “transmembrane potential”. It is suspected that when a bacterium is exposed to a copper surface, it leads to a short-circuiting of the current in the cell membrane, which weakens the membrane and creates holes.

Localized oxidation is another mechanism by which copper breaches bacterial cells. This occurs when a copper ion comes into contact with a protein or fatty acid from the bacterium’s cell membrane in the presence of oxygen, which causes oxidative damage to the cell membrane.

#2: Disrupting Cell Function

(Read more...)