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How Do We Determine the Efficacy of an Antibacterial Surface? A Review of Standardised Antibacterial Material Testing Methods

Cunliffe, Alexander J, Askew, Peter D, Stephan, Ina, Iredale, Gillian, Cosemans, Patrick, Simmons, Lisa M, Verran, Joanna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5539-6896 and Redfern, James ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0958-683X (2021) How Do We Determine the Efficacy of an Antibacterial Surface? A Review of Standardised Antibacterial Material Testing Methods. Antibiotics, 10 (9). p. 1069.

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Abstract

Materials that confer antimicrobial activity, be that by innate property, leaching of biocides or design features (e.g., non-adhesive materials) continue to gain popularity to combat the increasing and varied threats from microorganisms, e.g., replacing inert surfaces in hospitals with copper. To understand how efficacious these materials are at controlling microorganisms, data is usually collected via a standardised test method. However, standardised test methods vary, and often the characteristics and methodological choices can make it difficult to infer that any perceived antimicrobial activity demonstrated in the laboratory can be confidently assumed to an end-use setting. This review provides a critical analysis of standardised methodology used in academia and industry, and demonstrates how many key methodological choices (e.g., temperature, humidity/moisture, airflow, surface topography) may impact efficacy assessment, highlighting the need to carefully consider intended antimicrobial end-use of any product.

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