“Preparation and evaluation of new metal oxide film surfaces active in the elimination of bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes for use in hospital and medical environments”

Project Details


Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become one of the biggest problems of the 21st century. Currently, around 700,000 people die from this cause in the world. In fact, it is estimated that, if effective measures are not taken, by the year 2050, one person could die every three seconds from diseases associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In recent years, a greater awareness has been created about the role played by surfaces (walls, fabrics, floors, etc.) of medical institutions in the origin and spread of said infections. These surfaces act as facilitators, generators and even as perpetuators of certain epidemiological outbreaks. Despite visual inspection and routine controls that allow the detection of bacteria and resistance genes (BGRA) on surfaces present in medical centers, infections continue to increase. In addition, cleaning measures that are traditionally used for surfaces, they have proven to be inefficient or insufficient. Thus, this project proposes the development of self-disinfecting photoactive materials that allow the elimination of BGRA. To do this, a novel modification of various types of polymeric materials (commonly used in hospital environments and beauty centers) with metal oxides (MO) is proposed, with the aim of giving these materials optical and catalytic properties that allow their use as antimicrobial materials. These materials, being obtained by cheap and easy-to-apply methods, will increase their added value and could have a high impact on improving hospital environments and people's health. To achieve this goal, this project, to be developed in 24 months, It is supported by the multidisciplinary and strategic union of various research groups with a recognized track record in areas such as microbiology, materials engineering, chemistry and the health sector, belonging to public and private institutions; and includes studies from the laboratory scale to its subsequent implementation at the pilot level. Additionally, it includes the training of qualified scientific personnel (a master's student), scientific production in high-impact journals (publication of two articles in Q1 journals) and socialization of the results with the community (publication of a popular article and the development scientific event). The participation of the international advisor with extensive experience in the subject of the project is vital to face this highly topical problem at the national and international level.


Evaluate the activity, against bacteria and antibiotic resistant genes, of photocatalytic films of metal oxides deposited on synthetic polymers through simple and low-cost ways. Functionalize and/or modify the surfaces of the selected polymers and support on them metal oxides (MO) of TiO2, CuO and FexOy, natural oxides from Colombia, waste product oxides from the metallurgical industry (calamine) and hetero-junctions of TiO2/CuO, TiO2/FexOy and TiO2/CuO-FexOy, using different simple and relatively inexpensive methods.2. Monitor the activity of the supported materials in the elimination of sensitive and resistant bacteria and resistance genes, evaluating the impact of the different methods of modification or functionalization of the surface, and of the different metal oxides.3. Determine the chemical, surface, structural and mechanical characteristics of the materials supported with OM that present greater efficiency in disinfection.4. Establish relationships between the composition and structural characteristics of materials supported with OM and their ability to inactivate bacteria and resistance genes.5. Identify the modes of action (or mechanisms) of the supported materials in the inactivation of bacteria and resistance genes.6. Evaluate the best materials under conditions that simulate hospital conditions at the level of a laboratory pilot.7. Promote the exchange and cooperation of the national and international scientific community around the use of synthetic oxide films for the elimination of bacteria and resistance genes once deposited on polymers commonly present in the hospital environment.8. Socialize the results obtained to the community, highlighting the

Expected results

Articles category A, 1 Symposium, Participation in an international congress, 1 disclosure article in an institutional newspaper, engagement of 1 Master's training student and engagement of two young researchers
Short titlePelículas óxidos metálicos
Acronympelículas óxidos metálicos
Effective start/end date23/06/2123/06/23


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