New Delhi, March 17:Scientists have developed a highly efficient and durable bacteria-and virus-killing material which may be integrated into personal protective equipment (PPE) in the near future to prevent the outbreak of emerging infectious diseases.
The novel material can recharge its store of pathogen-killing chemicals under daylight like solar-powered batteries, while maintaining relatively fast biocidal abilities in dim or dark conditions, Xinhua reported.
"The material is made of electrospinning nano-fibres. Its 200-nanometre small pores can effectively block pathogens and also increase their contact with the photo-catalytic antibacterial component on the nano-fibres," said Si Yang lead author, a postdoctoral student at the University of California-Davis.
In the study, published in the journal Science Advances, the team engineered rechargeable patchworks of nano-fibrous membranes (RNMs) that quickly produce biocidal reactive oxygen species in response to daylight.
The RNMs killed bacteria (Escherichia coli and Listeria innocua) at over 99 per cent efficiency under 30-and 60-minute daylight irradiation and killed viruses (T7 phage) just as efficiently at a faster rate, in only about five minutes under daylight.
Moreover, because of its rechargeable feature, the RNM continued to kill the pathogens in the dark, disrupting bacteria within 120 minutes and viruses within 30 minutes.
Current light-responsive biocidal materials, on the other hand, typically need around five to 10 hours to reach the level of bacteria-killing efficiency.
The sustainable RNMs also show potential for use in applications like tissue engineering, medical therapy equipment and smart wearable devices, Yang said.