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Introducing Antibacterial Properties to Paper Towels Through the Use of Selenium Nanoparticles

  • Qi Wang (a1) and Thomas J. Webster (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Bacterial infections are commonly found on paper towels and other paper products leading to the potential spread of bacteria and consequent health concerns. The objective of this in vitro study was to introduce antibacterial properties to paper towel surfaces by coating them with selenium nanoparticles. Scanning electron microscopy was used to measure the size and distribution of the selenium coatings on the paper towels. Atomic force microscopy was used to measure the surface roughness of paper towels before and after coated with selenium nanoparticles. The amount of selenium precipitated on the paper towels was measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy. In vitro bacterial studies with Staphylococcus aureus were conducted to assess the effectiveness of the selenium coating at inhibiting bacterial growth. Results showed that the selenium nanoparticles coated on the paper towel surface were well distributed and semispherical about 50nm in diameter. Most importantly, the selenium nanoparticle coated paper towels inhibited S. aureus growth by 90% after 24 hours and 72 hours compared with the uncoated paper towels. Thus, the study showed that nano-selenium coated paper towels may lead to an increased eradication of bacteria to more effectively clean a wide-range of clinical environments, thus, improving health.

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