In a new article published in Frontiers in Microbiology, researchers describe the testing of a new coating of silver and ruthenium, a platinum derivative. Elements such as silver have proven their effectiveness in killing microorganisms and silver coils are used in various applications, such as cooling with water, to prevent the growth of bacteria.
The coating, dubbed AGXX by the researchers, was tested on one of the most disgusting surfaces of the International Space Station: the bathroom door. Tests were then performed on the surfaces after coating for several months and the results looked promising.
"After six months of exposure to the ISS, no bacteria have been detected on AGXX coated surfaces," said in a statement Professor Elisabeth Grohmann, lead author of the # 39; s book.
The tests were performed again between 12 and 19 months and, although some bacteria managed to hang during this extended period, there was still an overall 80% reduction in activity bacterial. Researchers attribute this to the formation of microscopic materials on surfaces that prevented bacteria from coming into direct contact with the surface.
"With prolonged exposure time, some bacteria have escaped the antimicrobial action," says Grohmann. "Antimicrobial test materials are static surfaces, where dead cells, dust particles and cellular debris can accumulate over time and interfere with direct contact between the surface of the antimicrobial and the bacteria. "
This work is particularly important because of the stress experienced by astronauts during their stay aboard the space station. Radical changes in daily life can reduce the effectiveness of human immune systems and flying in space is one of the most stressful things that a person can live on.