Learn how copper destroys bacteria and could prevent hospital-acquired infections, in this video from NOVA: Treasures of the Earth: Metals. Hospitals are breeding grounds for drug-resistant superbugs such as MRSA; however, replacing common hospital materials (such as plastic and stainless steel) with copper could help save lives. An experiment demonstrates the behavior of fluorescent-dyed MRSA on pieces of copper and stainless steel. After 5 minutes, the bacteria on the stainless steel remained, while no bacteria on the copper plate survived. An animation illustrates how the electrical properties of copper may cause holes to develop on the membrane of the bacteria, allowing copper to invade the membrane and destroy the bacteria. This resource is part of the NOVA Collection.
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