What is it about?

The recent COVID-19 virus has led to a rising interest in antimicrobial and antiviral coatings for frequently touched surfaces in public and healthcare settings. Such coatings may have the ability to kill a variety of microorganisms and bio-structures and reduce the risk of virus transmission. This paper proposes an extremely rapid method to introduce rare-earth doping nano-ZnO in polyamines for the preparation of the anti-microbial polyurea coatings. The nano-ZnO is prepared by wet chemical method, and the RE-doped nano-ZnO was obtained by mixing nano-ZnO and RE-dopants with an appropriate amount of nitric acid. This rapidly fabricated polyurea coating can effectively reduce bacteria from enriching on the surface. Compared with pure nano-ZnO group, all the polyurea coatings with four different rare-earth elements (La, Ce, Pr and Gd) doped nano-ZnO. The La-doped nano-ZnO formula group indicates the highest bactericidal rate over 85% to Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pseudomonas). Followed by Ce/ZnO, the bactericidal rate may still remain as high as 83% at room temperature after 25-min UV exposure. It is believed that the RE-doping process may greatly improve the photocatalytic response to UV light as well as environmental temperature due to its thermal catalytic enhancement. Through the surface characterizations and bioassays, the coatings have a durably high bactericidal rate even after repeated usage. As polyurea coating itself has high mechanical strength and adhesive force with most substrate materials without peel-off found, this rapid preparation method will also provide good prospects in practical applications.

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Why is it important?

In this study, antibacterial coatings are rapidly prepared by introducing RE-doped nano-ZnO in polyurea. These La/Ce/Pr/Gd nano-ZnO doped coatings have a high bactericidal rate of over 85 % to E. coli. Nano-ZnO can generate ROS by the photocatalytic reaction to prevent E. coli from the surface. RE-dopants can enhance the bactericidal effect of these coatings in the dark by thermal effect. These rapidly prepared coatings also exhibit high antimicrobial durability after repeatable use.

Perspectives

This research shows enormous potential for the control of future outbreaks and stopping the transmission of HPAIs in healthcare settings. There is also potential for their use in the food industry to provide antimicrobial packaging and fibres, improving the quality and shelflife of foodstuffs in the future. Whilst this research is still in its infancy, it will no doubt soon Antimicrobial Polyurea Coatings With Rare Earth-Doped Nano-Zinc Oxide Particles be moving out of the laboratory and into the commercial sphere.

YUANZHE LI
Nanyang Technological University

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This page is a summary of: Rapid preparation and antimicrobial activity of polyurea coatings with RE‐Doped nano‐ZnO, Microbial Biotechnology, October 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1751-7915.13891.
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