Transfer of bacteria between fabric and surrogate skin

Published:November 11, 2021DOI:


      • Fabrics have been established as fomites causing HAIs
      • Transfer of bacteria between fabrics and surrogate skin monitored in the study
      • Smoother surfaces and higher frictional force encourage transfer
      • Surface energy and absorbency also crucial factors in transfer of bacteria


      Contaminated textiles serve as fomites in healthcare settings. The extent of transfer of pathogens from fabrics depends on the surface properties of the 2 contact surfaces.


      In the current study, the effect of surface energy and surface roughness of fabrics on the transfer of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus to and from textiles to surrogate skin were determined. Three fabrics (100% cotton, 100% polyester, and 50-50 blend of cotton and polyester) having identical constructional parameters, were characterised on the basis of surface roughness, and energy. Assessment of transfer of bacteria was carried out by bringing the matrix seeded with inoculum in contact with the sterilized matrix for a predetermined period of time, followed by dislodging of cells from the recipient surface by vortexing, and plating.

      Results and Discussion

      Results showed that 100% polyester attracted the highest number of bacterial cells compared to the others. It also released the maximum number of bacteria upon coming in contact with surrogate skin. Properties of fabrics like absorbency, surface energy, and surface roughness, simultaneously affected transfer.


      It is advisable to minimize the use of 100% polyester in healthcare settings to curb the transfer load of bacteria from one surface to another.


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