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How Does a Photocatalytic Antimicrobial Coating Affect Environmental Bioburden in Hospitals?

  • Matthew Reid (a1), Vanessa Whatley (a1), Emma Spooner (a1), Alan M. Nevill (a2), Michael Cooper (a1), Jeremy J. Ramsden (a3) and Stephanie J. Dancer (a4) (a5)...



The healthcare environment is recognized as a source for healthcare-acquired infection. Because cleaning practices are often erratic and always intermittent, we hypothesize that continuously antimicrobial surfaces offer superior control of surface bioburden.


To evaluate the impact of a photocatalytic antimicrobial coating at near-patient, high-touch sites in a hospital ward.


The study took place in 2 acute-care wards in a large acute-care hospital.


A titanium dioxide-based photocatalytic coating was sprayed onto 6 surfaces in a 4-bed bay in a ward and compared under normal illumination against the same surfaces in an untreated ward: right and left bed rails, bed control, bedside locker, overbed table, and bed footboard. Using standardized methods, the overall microbial burden and presence of an indicator pathogen (Staphylococcus aureus) were assessed biweekly for 12 weeks.


Treated surfaces demonstrated significantly lower microbial burden than control sites, and the difference increased between treated and untreated surfaces during the study. Hygiene failures (>2.5 colony-forming units [CFU]/cm2) increased 2.6% per day for control surfaces (odds ratio [OR], 1.026; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.009–1.043; P=.003) but declined 2.5% per day for treated surfaces (OR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.925–0.977; P<.001). We detected no significant difference between coated and control surfaces regarding S. aureus contamination.


Photocatalytic coatings reduced the bioburden of high-risk surfaces in the healthcare environment. Treated surfaces became steadily cleaner, while untreated surfaces accumulated bioburden. This evaluation encourages a larger-scale investigation to ascertain whether the observed environmental amelioration has an effect on healthcare-acquired infection.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:398–404


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Prof. J. J. Ramsden, University of Buckingham, MK18 1EG, UK (


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How Does a Photocatalytic Antimicrobial Coating Affect Environmental Bioburden in Hospitals?

  • Matthew Reid (a1), Vanessa Whatley (a1), Emma Spooner (a1), Alan M. Nevill (a2), Michael Cooper (a1), Jeremy J. Ramsden (a3) and Stephanie J. Dancer (a4) (a5)...


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