Copper as a Biocidal Tool
Gadi Borkow and Jeffrey Gabbay
Affiliation: Hameyasdim 44, Kfar Gibton 76910, Israel.
Keywords: bacteriostatic, gram-negative organisms, electroplated coatings, copper-impregnated fabrics, water purifier, antiviral, oxidizing agents, cell membrane, cell viability
Copper ions, either alone or in copper complexes, have been used to disinfect liquids, solids and human tissue for centuries. Today copper is used as a water purifier, algaecide, fungicide, nematocide, molluscicide as well as an antibacterial and anti-fouling agent. Copper also displays potent anti-viral activity. This article reviews (i) the biocidal properties of copper; (ii) the possible mechanisms by which copper is toxic to microorganisms; and (iii) the systems by which many microorganisms resist high concentrations of heavy metals, with an emphasis on copper.
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