How it works
Investigation suggests that as copper begins contact with bacteria it interacts with them in two sequential steps.
1.- It breaks bacteria’s external membrane.
The external wall of all unicellular organisms, like bacteria, stays stable due to a micro-electrical current called “transmembrane potential”, which is the voltage difference between a cell’s interior and exterior. Evidence implies that when bacteria enters contact with copper, a short-circuit occurs in the membrane. This weakens, and creates perforations on it. Another theory that explains the membrane’s perforations is its localized oxidation. When a copper molecule or ion interacts with some of the membrane’s components (such as proteins or fatty acid) in the presence of oxygen, happens what is known as oxidative damage in the membrane, just like a metal piece, which oxidation punctures and weakens.
2.- An interruption in cellular metabolism causing a lose of vital nutrients and water.
Through the cellular wall’s perforations, a flood of copper ions can reach the inside of the cell, compromising many vital processes, amongst these is cellular metabolism (all reactions that keep the cell alive and working). What copper does is it fuses with enzymes that catalyze these processes, deactivating them. This way, the bacteria can no longer eat, breath, digest or create energy to stay alive. Once the membrane is punctured, copper can inhibit all the enzymes preventing transportation or the digestion of nutrients, the membranes reparation mechanisms and its capability to multiply. It is because of this mechanism that copper has a broad spectrum eliminating bacteria that make contact with it.
Summary of the article: “The Science behind Antimicrobial Copper”.
Healthy working and domestic environments, thanks to the important reduction of infections and sicknesses such as colds, flus and other contagious illnesses. This translates into an increased productivity in businesses due to the reduction in sick leaves.
We have developed technologies which allow us to incorporate these ions as polymers in a controlled way, the most used materials in actuality for the production of contact surfaces and clothing.
- Antimicrobial polymers
- Antimicrobial membranes
- Antimicrobial melamines