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Is This a “Killer Spray” for Kitchen Microbes?

sliced steak

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Maintaining a sparkling kitchen worthy of a cooking show set may soon get much easier. A scientist at Nottingham Trent University has just scored about $80,000 of funding from a local “Food and Drink Innovation Network” to develop a permanent spray-on coating that could kill off troublesome microbes in the kitchen. Dr. Fengge Gao (who, incidentally, has “amazing fashion sense,” according to the Facebook “Appreciation Society” in his honor), is an expert on leveraging nanotechnology for antimicrobial purposes. In 2009 Gao produced an antimicrobial material that helps prevent leaching from plastic bottles, reports The Engineer.

The spray-on coating would be applied once to kitchen surfaces or processing equipment, which would then contain the antimicrobial powers throughout their lives. The material Gao envisions will also have water-repelling properties, which should make cleaning and maintaining them easier. The materials will be of use both in the home and to industry: “Cleaning the remaining food in food processing equipment to prevent bacteria growth is a challenge in the food processing industry,” Gao tells Fast Company. He adds that the antimicrobial technology is already “mature,” while the water-repelling technology needs about two to three years of work.

In January, researchers announced that they had invented a kind of paper with silver nanoparticles distributed across it that had antimicrobial properties. The press dubbed it “killer paper,” so for now we’re calling Gao’s hopeful invention “killer spray.”

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[Image: flickr user toholio]

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