In 2001, six research partners (the Martin Luther University of Halle, the German research institute iba, the University of Genova, SINTEF, the Dutch catheter manufacturer Humeca and the Dutch test laboratory BioScan) joined forces to develop a surface to reduce bacterial adhesion and growth. The new coating may be used on all types of equipment where low bacterial adhesion to the surface is desired.
“We have used medical catheters as an example and have conducted all our tests on this product, but this research would be equally beneficial for production equipment in the food industry,” says SINTEF Research Manager Ruth Baumberger Schmid.
The University of Halle has a patent on the extraction and use of a special molecule for coating. The molecule is a fatty substance (lipid) that is produced by bacteria deep in coal mines. The research team based its work on this fatty substance. It was already known that the lipid had properties that were beneficial for medical use: it does not create any toxic or allergic reaction or injury to either tissue or blood.
“The aspects of this lipid are that it consists of a double-chain and is rod-shaped, as well as being chemically and biologically stable,” says Schmid. “A tight layer of molecules will resemble a biological membrane, for example a cell wall. We tried to imitate a biological surface to which bacteria could not attach.”
Chemists at work
The catheter itself is made of silicon, a material known for being stable and harmless, because it does not reactwith other substances in the body. In order to bind the coating to the surface, the research scientists had to activate the silicon. One of the major challenges was to fasten the coating to the silicon without altering the silicon’s positive properties.
“As the lipid consists of a double-chain with reactive “heads” on both ends, we could bind the lipid to the catheter wall via the head at one end and at the same time attach other molecules to the “head” on the opposite side,” says Schmid. The research scientists tested different types of chemistry on the outermost “head”, and then prepared tailor-made surfaces with many different properties, including positive charge, negative charge, water-attracting, and water-repelling.”
The next step was to conduct a host of physical and biological tests at iba and BioScan on the various surfaces. The tests showed a pattern and confirmed that the research scientists had been successful: With a new surface on the catheter, the bacterial flora was reduced by half, and when favourable chemistry was applied to the molecule’s outermost heads, the reduction reached 75 percent. Moreover, no negative effects were observed when the surface came in contact with living organisms.
The University of Halle and iba have now established a company in Germany to find other applications for the lipids in addition to the catheter. SINTEF, iba and the University of Halle have also met with a South African mining company, which has lipids as a by-product.
“There is good and complementary co-operation among the three partners,” says Schmid. “While Halle conducts basic research on the lipid and iba handles the biological testing, we are focussing on applied research and can expand product offerings to include industrial applications.”
Aase Dragland | alfa
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences