Novel antibacterial silver-silica surface coatings prepared by chemical vapour deposition for infection control

S. Varghese, S. Elfakhri, D. W. Sheel, P. Sheel, F. J. Bolton, H. A. Foster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Environmental contamination plays an important role in the transmission of infections, especially healthcare-associated infections. Disinfection transiently reduces contamination, but surfaces can rapidly become re-contaminated. Antimicrobial surfaces may partially overcome that limitation. The antimicrobial activity of novel surface coatings containing silver and silica prepared using a flame-assisted chemical vapour deposition method on both glass and ceramic tiles was investigated. Methods and Results: Antimicrobial activity against a variety of bacteria including recent clinical isolates was investigated based on the BS ISO 22196:2007 Plastics - Measurement of antibacterial activity on plastics surfaces, British Standards Institute, London, method. Activity on natural contamination in an in use test in a toilet facility was also determined. Activity on standard test strains gave a log10 reduction of five after 1-4 h. The hospital isolates were more resistant, but MRSA was reduced by a log10 reduction factor of >5 after 24 h. Activity was maintained after simulated ageing and washing cycles. Contamination in situ was reduced by >99·9% after 4 months. Activity was inhibited by protein, but, although this could be overcome by increasing the amount of silver in the films, this reduced the hardness of the coating. Conclusions: The coatings had a good activity against standard test strains. Clinical isolates were killed more slowly but were still sensitive. The optimum composition for use therefore needs to be a balance between activity and durability. Significance and Impact of the Study: The coatings may have applications in health care by maintaining a background antimicrobial activity between standard cleaning and disinfection regimes. They may also have applications in other areas where reduction in microbial contamination is important, for example, in the food industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1116
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Ag
  • Ag-SiO
  • Antibacterial
  • Coating
  • CVD
  • Silver
  • Surface


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