Research Article: Novel coating containing molybdenum oxide nanoparticles to reduce Staphylococcus aureus contamination on inanimate surfaces

Date Published: March 18, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Susana Piçarra, Elizeth Lopes, Pedro L. Almeida, Hermínia de Lencastre, Marta Aires-de-Sousa, Yogendra Kumar Mishra.


We previously synthetized molybdenum oxide (MoO3) nanoparticles (NP) and showed their antibacterial activity against a representative collection of the most relevant bacterial species responsible for hospital-acquired infections, including Staphylococcus aureus. The aim of the present study was to prepare and characterize a novel coating with these MoO3 NP, confirm its mechanical stability, and investigate its biocidal effect to reduce S. aureus contamination on inanimate surfaces. In addition, the novel MoO3 NP coating was compared to a silver (Ag) NP coating synthetized by the same procedure. The MoO3 and Ag NP coatings were characterized in terms of their chemical structure by FT-IR, surface morphology by scanning electron microscopy, and mechanical properties by tensile and adhesion tests. The antimicrobial activity of the coatings was tested by following the loss of viability of S. aureus after 6h, 24h, 48h, and 72h exposure. MoO3 and Ag coatings exhibited surfaces of comparable morphologies and both presented elastomeric properties (tensile strength of ~420 kPa, Young’s modulus of ~48 kPa, and maximum elongation of ~12%), and excellent (classification of 5B) adhesion to glass, steel and polystyrene surfaces. The two coatings exhibited a good antibacterial activity (R) against S. aureus over time (RMoO3 = 0.2–0.81; RAg = 0.61–2.37), although the effect of the Ag NP coating was more pronounced, especially at 72h (RMoO3 = 0.81 vs RAg = 2.37). Noteworthy, contrary to the Ag NP coating, the MoO3 NP coating was colourless and transparent, avoiding undesired unaesthetic effects. The synthetized coating with NP of MoO3, which has low toxicity to humans, capability of biodegradation, and rapid excretion, can be applied onto most standard materials and therefore is a promising tool to reduce S. aureus contamination on usual inanimate surfaces found in healthcare and community environments.

Partial Text

Staphylococcus aureus remains a leading cause of bacterial infections worldwide, ranging from skin and soft tissue infections to more severe conditions such as bacteremia, meningitis, pneumonia, osteomyelitis, and endocarditis. The high morbidity and mortality associated to S. aureus infections is due largely to its methicillin resistant form (MRSA), which was historically associated exclusively with hospital-acquired infections, but subsequently spread also to the community posing new threats and challenges.




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