Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human sweat can reduce anti-bacterial properties of brass objects in hospitals and schools

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Researchers discover sweat can cause corrosion of protective qualities of door knobs and taps within an hour of contact. Sweaty hands can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria-fighting brass objects in hospitals and schools after just an hour of coming into contact with them.

University of Leicester researchers discover sweat can cause corrosion of protective qualities of door knobs and taps within an hour of contact.

Related Articles


Sweaty hands can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria-fighting brass objects in hospitals and schools after just an hour of coming into contact with them, according to scientists at the University of Leicester.

While copper found in everyday brass items such as door handles and water taps has an antimicrobial effect on bacteria and is widely used to prevent the spread of disease, Dr John Bond OBE from the University of Leicester's Department of Chemistry has discovered that peoples' sweat can, within an hour of contact with the brass, produce sufficient corrosion to adversely affect its use to kill a range of microorganisms, such as those which might be encountered in a hospital and which can be easily transferred by touch or by a lack of hand hygiene.

Dr Bond explained: "The antimicrobial effect of copper has been known for hundreds of years. It is thought to occur as a result of a charge exchange between copper and bacteria, which leads to a degradation of the bacteria DNA. We have discovered that the salt in sweat corrodes the metal, forming an oxide layer on its surface, which is the process of corrosion -- and this corrosive layer is known to inhibit the effect of the copper. We have shown that it is possible for sweat to produce an oxide layer on the metal within an hour of contact.

"While it is well known that sweat corrodes brass, this is the first study to quantitatively analyse the temporal corrosion of copper alloys such as brass in the first few hours after contact between fingerprint sweat concentrations of salt and the metal."

The research paper entitled 'Electrochemical behaviour of brass in chloride solution concentrations found in eccrine fingerprint sweat', published in the journal Applied Surface Science was co-authored by Elaine Lieu as part of a third year Interdisciplinary Science project investigating how easily and quickly sweat can corrode brass at the University of Leicester.

Dr Bond added: "Opportunities to improve hospital hygiene are being investigated by the University of Leicester from seemingly un-connected areas of research. This research is a different application of the study of fingerprint sweat corrosion of brass, applied to hygiene rather than to crime investigation.

"My short term advice is to keep the brass in public environments free from corrosion through regular and thorough cleaning. In the longer term, using copper alloys with corrosion inhibitors included in the alloy would be a good choice.

"While more research is needed in the study of sweat and brass corrosion, anywhere that needs to prevent the spread of bacteria, such as public buildings, schools and hospitals should be looking at using copper alloy on everyday items to help in avoiding the spread of disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John W. Bond Obe, Elaine Lieu. Electrochemical behaviour of brass in chloride solution concentrations found in eccrine fingerprint sweat. Applied Surface Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2014.06.005

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Human sweat can reduce anti-bacterial properties of brass objects in hospitals and schools." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617210344.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2014, June 17). Human sweat can reduce anti-bacterial properties of brass objects in hospitals and schools. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617210344.htm
University of Leicester. "Human sweat can reduce anti-bacterial properties of brass objects in hospitals and schools." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617210344.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) — A meningitis outbreak in Niger has killed 85 people since the start of the year prompting authorities to close schools in the capital Niamey until Monday. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) — More than half of Brazil&apos;s babies are born via cesarean section, as mothers and doctors opt for a faster and less painful experience despite the health risks. Duration: 02:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 24, 2015) — The world&apos;s first anti-malaria vaccine could get the go-ahead for use in Africa from October if approved by international regulators. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) — Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins