The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Potential action of copper surfaces on meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Weaver, L., Noyce, J.O., Michels, H.T and Keevil, C.W. (2010) Potential action of copper surfaces on meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Journal of Applied Microbiology, 109, (6), pp. 2200-2205. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04852.x). (PMID:21040269).

Record type: Article


Aims: atudies to date have shown rapid killing of bacterial cells when exposed to copper surfaces. The mechanistic action of copper on bacterial cells is so far unknown.

Methods and results: to investigate potential mechanisms involved, meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cells (107 CFU) were inoculated onto coupons of copper or stainless steel and stained with either the viability fluorophore 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium (CTC), to detect respiration, or BacLight™ (SYTO9/propidium iodide), to determine cell wall integrity. Coupons were then observed in-situ using epifluorescence microscopy. In addition, DNA from cells inoculated onto either copper or stainless steel surfaces was isolated and analysed by agarose gel electrophoresis. An effect on cellular respiration with CTC reduction was evident but no effect on cell membrane integrity (BacLight™) was observed. Results from the DNA isolation indicated a copper-induced detrimental effect on MRSA genomic material as no bands were observed after exposure to copper surface.

Conclusions: the results indicate that exposure to copper surfaces rapidly kills MRSA by compromising cellular respiration and damaging DNA, with little effect on cell membrane integrity.

Significance and impact of the study: this research provides a mechanistic explanation in support of previous suggestions that although copper surfaces do not affect membrane integrity of cells, there is still a rapid antimicrobial effect

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 11 October 2010
Published date: December 2010
Organisations: Centre for Biological Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 209299
ISSN: 1364-5072
PURE UUID: cf5e5043-9ce6-40bc-9e14-c9f67a4d9a58
ORCID for C.W. Keevil: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Jan 2012 14:31
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 10:47

Export record



Author: L. Weaver
Author: J.O. Noyce
Author: H.T Michels
Author: C.W. Keevil ORCID iD

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.