Study proves silver bullet kills contaminating bugs in the lab
A two-month environmental study has shown that silver-based BioCote® antimicrobial protection, an integral feature of all Stuart® benchtop laboratory equipment, reduces bacterial contamination of instrument surfaces by over 96 per cent.
The study was carried out at the University of Birmingham, in a laboratory conducting research for Cancer Research UK. Bacterial surface contamination of six BioCote-treated Stuart instruments, such as hotplate stirrers and a mixer, was compared with untreated centrifuges, a biophotometer, and fridge and incubator handles. Swabs from touchpads, switches, casings etc. were collected fortnightly for two months and Total Viable Counts (TVC) obtained after inoculation and incubation of plate count agar.
Results were dramatic: a mean reduction in excess of 96 per cent in the TVC of bacteria contaminating the BioCote treated equipment, compared with untreated control items in the same environment. All items included in the study had previously been in routine use in the laboratory for around 18 months.
According to Rob Skehens, Marketing Director, Bibby Scientific, `This important study has conclusively proved that BioCote antimicrobial protection has a vital role to play, complementing established GLP and GMP protocols, in ensuring that laboratory environments comply with the highest health and safety standards. While surface disinfection in the laboratory will always be essential, permanent antimicrobial surfaces of instruments represent a powerful weapon against the hazards of lab-acquired infection and contamination of precious experimental or test samples. This is particularly true for surfaces subjected to physical contact with reagents, or repeated hand contact by multiple users.'
BioCote exploits the ability of silver ions to disrupt bacterial cell membrane function and cause denaturing of vital enzymes within the cell, leading to rapid cell death. BioCote's silver ions are slowly released from an inorganic matrix via an ion exchange mechanism, maintaining an effective concentration on or near the surface of the material. Active throughout the useful life of each instrument, BioCote kills a wide range of bacteria and fungi, including MRSA, E. coli, Legionella, Staphylococcus aureus and Aspergillus niger.