Skip to main content Accessibility help

Reducing Infections Using Nanotechnology

  • Thomas J. Webster (a1) (a2)


Ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious and costly clinical problem. Specifically, receiving mechanical ventilation for over 24 hours increases the risk of VAP and is associated with high morbidity, mortality and medical costs. Cost effective endotracheal tubes (ETTs) that are resistant to bacterial infection could help prevent this problem. The objective of this study was to determine differences in the growth of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) on nanomodified and unmodified polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ETTs under dynamic airway conditions. PVC ETTs were modified to have nanometer surface features by soaking them in Rhizopus arrhisus, a fungal lipase. Twenty-four hour experiments (supported by computational models) showed that air flow conditions within the ETT influenced both the location and concentration of bacterial growth on the ETTs especially within areas of tube curvature. More importantly, experiments revealed a 1.5 log reduction in the total number of S. aureus on the novel nanomodified ETTs compared to the conventional ETTs after 24 hours of air flow. This dynamic study showed that lipase etching can create nano-rough surface features on PVC ETTs that suppress S. aureus growth and, thus, may provide clinicians with an effective and inexpensive tool to combat VAP.


Corresponding author


Hide All
1. Haley, R.W.Incidence and nature of endemic and epidemic nosocomial infections”, in Bennett and Brachman's Hospital Infections, edited by Bennett, J.V., Brachman, P.S. and Jarvis, W.R.. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Boston, 2007) p.359374.
2. Gaynes, R. and Edwards, J.R.. Overview of nosocomial infections caused by gramnegative bacilli. Clin. Infect. Dis. 41, 848854 (2005).
3. Baltimore, R.S. The difficulty of diagnosing VAP. Pediatrics 112, 14201421(2003).
4. Bahrani-Mougeot, F.K., Paster, B.J., and Coleman, S.. Molecular analysis of oral and respiratory bacterial species associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia. J. Clin. Microbiol. 45, 15881593 (2007).
5. Koerner, R. J. Contribution of endotracheal tubes to the pathogenesis of ventilatorassociated pneumonia. J. Hosp. Infect. 35, 8389 (1997).
6. Carsons, S. E., Fibronectin in Health and Disease. (CRC Press Inc., New York, 1989).
7. Machado, M.C., Cheng, D., Tarquinio, K.M., and Webster, T.J.. Nanotechnology: Pediatric Applications. Pediatr. Res., 67(5), 500504 (2010).
8. Klein, J. Probing the interactions of proteins and nanoparticles. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104, 20292030 (2007).
9. Liu, H., and Webster, T.J.. Nanomedicine for implants: A review of studies and necessary experimental tools. Biomaterials 28, 354369 (2006).
10. Lichter, J.A, Thompson, M.T., Delgadillo, M., Nishikawa, T., Rubner, M.F., and Van Vliet, K. J.. Substrata mechanical stiffness can regulate adhesion of viable bacteria. Biomacromolecules 9(6), 15711578 (2008).
11. Diaz, C., Cortizo, M.C, Schilardi, P.L, Saravia, S.G.G, and Mele, M.A.F.L.. Influence of the nano-micro structure of the surface on bacterial adhesion. Mat. Res. 10(1), 1114 (2007).
12. Berger, S.A., and Talbot, L.. Flow in curved pipes. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech. 15,461512 (1983).
13. Rusconi, R., Lecuyer, S., Guglielmini, L., and Stone, H.A.. Laminar flow around corners triggers the formation of biofilm streamers. J. R. Soc. Interface 7, 12931299 (2010).
14. Hartmann, M., Guttmann, J., Muller., B., Hallmann, T., and Geiger, K.. Reduction of the bacterial load by the silver-coated endotracheal tube (SCET) a laboratory investigation. Technol. Health Care 7, 359370 (1999).
15. Seil, J.T., Rubien, N.M., Webster, T.J., and Tarquinio, K.M.. Comparison of quantification methods illustrates reduced Pseudomonas aeruginosa activity on nanorough polyvinyl chloride. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. B, 9B(1):17, 2011.
16. Dellinger, R, Jean, P and Cinel, S. Regional distribution of acoustic-based lung vibration as a function of mechanical ventilation mode. Crit Care. 11, R26 (2007).
17. Microbiology, An Introduction. (Tortura, Funke, Case, California, 1998).
18. Davis, Dulbecco, Eisen, Ginsberg, Bacterial Physiology: Microbiology, 2nd ed., (Harper and Row, Maryland, 1973) p.9697.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Reducing Infections Using Nanotechnology

  • Thomas J. Webster (a1) (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.