Graphene oxide has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is effective against four important human pathogens, according to a team of physicists and biotechnologists in Italy. Coating medical instruments and devices in the carbon-based material could help to reduce infections, especially after an operation, as well as reducing antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, say the researchers.
Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, with many unique properties. Graphene oxide is a layered material made of oxygenated graphene sheets with molecules such as epoxide and carboxyl, and hydroxyl groups on its surface. It is easy and cheap to manufacture by oxidising graphite, and can be mixed with different polymers to adjust its properties.