Salt can help fight superbugs, new research and 3D printing could create new industry

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th March 2017

Salt could soon be more than just a seasoning with new Canadian research discovering its potential to fight superbugs.

Published in Volume 94, Issue 2 of The Journal of Hospital Infection, the study found that a superbug strain called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), will only survive on salt for five minutes.

Comparatively, copper, which is often considered a surface in-which disease-carrying bugs do not live long on, was also tested but the MRSA strain lasted 90 minutes on the surface.

Stainless steel performed even worse with the MRSA superbug living for over six hours on the surface.

The research is now being used to help create a line of products which compress salt together to make coverings that can be placed on door handles in an effort to fight off the spread of disease.

How does salt fight superbugs?

According to Outbreaker, the company behind the compressed salt door handle coverings, salt works in fighting the disease in three main ways:

  • Recrystallisation – When a pathogen lands on the salt it is normally through some form of wet droplet which dries on the salt. The salt then recrystallises and tears the pathogen apart.
  • Dehydration – Most disease relies on water to survive and the salt draws the water out of the germ and helps to kill it.
  • Denaturation – When the salt interferes with the protein in the germs and causes them to become ineffective.

Using 3D printing and salt together

Like other foods, it is possible to use salt to 3D print objects. In 2013 for example, an ‘igloo’ type structure was created in the United States using salt from the San Francisco Bay area.

The same type of 3D printing technology could be used to create objects, like door handle covers, to help stop the spread of disease.


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