Copper as an antibacterial agent for human pathogenic multidrug resistant Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria
The Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) consists of 17 closely related multidrug resistant bacterial species that are difficult to eradicate. Copper has recently gained attention as an antimicrobial agent because of its inhibitory effects on bacteria, yeast, and viruses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial activity of copper surfaces and copper powder against members of the B. cepacia complex. The antibacterial activity of different copper surfaces was evaluated by incubating them with Bcc strain suspensions (5 × 107 cfu/ml). The bacterial survival counts were calculated and the data for various copper surfaces were compared to the data for stainless steel and polyvinylchloride, which were used as control surfaces. The antibacterial activity of copper powder was determined with the diffusimetrical technique and the zone of inhibition was evaluated with paper disks. A single cell gel electrophoresis assay, staining assays, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy were performed to determine the mechanism responsible for the bactericidal activity. The results showed a significant decrease in the viable bacterial count after exposure to copper surfaces. Moreover, the copper powder produced a large zone of inhibition and there was a significantly higher influx of copper ions into the bacterial cells that were exposed to copper surfaces compared to the controls. The present study demonstrates that metallic copper has an antibacterial effect against Bcc bacteria and that copper adversely affects the bacterial cellular structure, thus resulting in cell death. These findings suggest that copper could be utilized in health care facilities to reduce the bioburden of Bcc species, which may protect susceptible members of the community from bacterial infection.
Journal: Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering - Volume 112, Issue 6, December 2011, Pages 570–576