Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Cleaner and safer surfaces for sanitary spaces

Many patients in hospitals become infected during their stay as a result of microbial colonisation on hospital surfaces. EU-funded researchers developed novel hygienic coatings incorporating improved production processes and controlled release of antibacterial ingredients (biocides) that should enhance health and safety from the manufacturing process through to the end user.
Cleaner and safer surfaces for sanitary spaces
Hygienic coatings are widely used in hospitals, schools and restaurants to name only a few. However, current technology does not always adequately prevent microbial colonisation of surfaces by bacteria and fungus.

Given the increasingly strict legislation regarding health and safety of sanitary places, the ‘Hygienic coatings with active ingredient controlled release’ (Hycore) project was undertaken to develop new coatings with small reservoirs containing biocides to be released in a controlled way, assisting in removal or deactivation of bacterial and fungal growth.

The researchers designed the coatings to use water-based rather than organic solvents, thus eliminating the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the manufacturing process and enhancing the environment both for the workers and for the planet.

In addition, the novel coatings are easily cleaned and resistant to chemical degradation and physical destruction. Thus, sanitation personnel can use much less disinfectant and the coatings will last much longer, resulting in cost benefits as well as health benefits associated with decreased exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Finally, the obvious and desired effect of decreased microbes in supposedly sanitary places should decrease infection of both personnel and others, decrease the need for prescription of antibiotics and subsequently decrease the evolution of antibiotic-insensitive strains of microbes.

Overall, the Hycore project resulted in significant enhancements to anti-microbial surface coatings. Commercialisation of the outcomes could have broad-reaching effects on health, safety and the environment from the manufacturing process through to the end user and increase European competitiveness in a huge global market.

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