Major article| Volume 41, ISSUE 12, e115-e118, December 2013

Antimicrobial activity of copper against organisms in aqueous solution: A case for copper-based water pipelines in hospitals?


      An association exists between water of poor quality and health care-associated infections. Copper shows microbiocidal action on dry surfaces; it is necessary to evaluate its antimicrobial effect against organisms in aqueous solution.


      The objective was to determine the in vitro antimicrobial activity of copper against common nosocomial pathogens in aqueous solution.


      Copper and polyvinyl chloride containers were used. Glass was used as control material. Fourteen organisms isolated from hospital-acquired infections, and 3 control strains were tested. Inocula were prepared by direct suspension of colonies in saline solution and water in each container tested. Bacterial counts in colony-forming units (CFU)/mL were determined at the beginning of the experiment; at 30 minutes; and at 1, 2, 24, and 48 hours.


      Organisms in glass and polyvinyl chloride remained viable until the end of the experiment. Organisms in copper showed a reduction from more than 100,000 CFU/mL to 0 CFU/mL within the first 2 hours of contact (F > 4.29, P < .001).


      Copper containers show microbiocidal action on organisms in aqueous solution. Copper may contribute to the quality of water for human use, particularly in hospitals.

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