Although it’s known to kill bacteria, selenium has never been tried as an antibacterial coating for implanted medical devices ... until now, that is.
Engineers from Rhode Island’s Brown University have applied coatings of selenium nanoparticles to pieces of polycarbonate – the material used for things like catheters and endotracheal tubes – and then exposed those samples to Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. In some cases, populations of the bacteria were subsequently reduced by up to 90 percent.
The researchers started by growing separate batches of both large and small selenium nanoparticles, then coating polycarbonate samples with them – some samples were coated with only large nanoparticles, while others were coated with only small ones. Within each of those groups, they then applied tape to some samples, then ripped it off. This was done both to test how durable the coatings were, and to see how effective less-dense coatings would perform as compared to ones that were left intact.