ANTIMICROBIAL PROPERTIES OF COPPER
Celeny Rios, Lizbeth Romero.
Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Campus, Arecibo, PR.
Copper is an important metal that is distributed throughout nature and whose discovery dates from around 5,000 BC. It has been used in a variety of applications ranging from construction of household utensils, clothing accessories, and as an electric conductor. History has also shown a health-related use in ancient civilizations. In this study, we want to evaluate and compare, at 2 different times, the effects of solid copper on Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacter aerogenes. Copper will be compared with plastic and stainless steel. Also, we want to test the antimicrobial properties of copper sulfate, copper nitrate and cupric chloride on Enterobacter aerogenes, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus faecalis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Our results show that solid copper inhibits the tested bacteria at 1 and 3 hours of exposure. Copper surfaces showed complete inhibition of growth in contrast with the effect observed in plastic and stainless steel. In the case of liquid copper, an inhibition zone was observed for each tested bacteria at concentrations of 50, 100, and 150 mg/ml of each solution. These results demonstrate the antibacterial properties of copper on bacteria of medical importance. Further studies are required to test and evaluate the antimicrobial effect of copper surfaces and other concentrations of copper sulfate, copper nitrate, and cupric chloride.