Led by Virginia Davis, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Aleksandr Simonian, professor of materials engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Auburn researchers mixed solutions of lysozyme, a natural product with antimicrobial properties found in egg whites and human tears, with single-walled carbon nanotubes, or SWNTs, which are strong, microscopic pieces of carbon. SWNTs, at one nanometer in diameter, are a perfect cylinder of carbon and keep the lysozyme intact in the coating.
“Lysozyme is used in some commercial products such as Biotene mouthwash,” said Davis. “However, lysozyme itself is not as tough. Single-walled carbon nanotubes, on the other hand, are among the strongest materials known to man. While they are 100 times as strong as steel, they have only one-sixth the weight.”
By using a process called layer-by-layer deposition, the team demonstrated the inability of intact Staphylococcus aureus cells to grow on antimicrobial surfaces.
“Disinfection generally requires rigorous cleaning with solvent that must remain wet for a given period of time to ensure that surface germs are killed,” said Davis. “In contrast, we have created a surface that is inherently antimicrobial, so how long it is wet is not an issue.”
Davis’ research paper, “Strong Antimicrobial Coatings: Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Armored with Biopolymers,” was recently featured in NanoLetters, a premier journal in the field, frequently cited by top researchers.
“The material presented in NanoLetters is only the beginning,” said Davis. “We plan to adapt processing to enable the assembly of coatings on a much larger scale. As a foundation for future applications, the combination of single-walled carbon nanotubes with DNA, proteins and enzymes enables a range of possibilities for sensing and smart-functionality capabilities.”
Davis’ research and teaching expertise is related to SWNTs, their dispersion and shear alignment, which involves nanotube exploitation of specific properties and alignment across large spaces. She is a former student of Matteo Pasquali, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University, and Nobel Prize winner Richard E. Smalley. Simonian is a recognized expert in smart bio-functionalized materials and bio-sensing. He founded the biosensors laboratory at Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia and serves as a member of the Auburn University Detection and Food Safety Center.
Graduate student Shankar Balasubramanian, whose expertise is in biosensors and antimicrobial materials, and postdoctoral fellow Dhriti Nepal, whose background is in SWNT-biopolymer dispersion, contributed to the project.
Davis’ paper can be read online at http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/nalefd/asap/abs/nl080522t.html .
The release and photos can be viewed on the Auburn University Web site at http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/388 .
Auburn University | Newswise Science News
New study finds distinct microbes living next to corals
22.05.2019 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Summit charts a course to uncover the origins of genetic diseases
22.05.2019 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy