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Researchers develop paper that could help you stay germ-free

According to latest development, papers could defend us against harmful bacteria.

The researchers from Rutgers University have successfully created the first paper-based sanitizer. The paper sanitizer produces plasma (a blend of heat, ultraviolent radiation and ozone and works together in order to kill microbes) when high voltage is applied to the thin sheets of aluminum stacked in it.

As per their study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the permeable texture of the paper allows gas to pass through which in turn fuels plasma and cools down the paper.

The incentive for this research was to make personal protective tools that could contain the spread of various infectious diseases such as Ebola.

One of the plus points of paper sanitizers is their elasticity and flexibility. This trait helps the sanitizer to be applied at tiny or curved surfaces. This as a result, will be able to cut down the surface number of microbe as compared to the already existing techniques, reported Science Blog.

The paper was experimented against two types of bacteria, Escherichia coli – bacteria that can lead to diarrhea or urinary tract infections, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae – a fungal organism. Both direct contact and non-contact tests were conducted upon the organisms. The former one consisted of direct contact of the paper to the organisms while the latter one was where the paper was suspended at a small distance from the organisms.

The outcome was positive as it was able to kill over 99% of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and over 99.9% of Escherichia coli. Science Daily reported the co-author Qiang (Richard) Chen saying, “Preliminary results showed that our sanitizers can kill spores from bacteria, which are hard to kill using conventional sterilization methods.”

Along with this, the paper showed indications of destroying the bacterial species Bacillus as well.

Further hoping for the paper-based plasma generators to be used in other ways like self-sterilizing clothes or the medical equipment, the co-author of the publication Professor James F. White Jr. says, “Our next phase is to vigorously test how effective our sanitizer system is in killing spores.”

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