The issue of infection outbreak is becoming more important for several reasons e.g. increasing number in individual traveling, ageing population and multi-resistant microbes. The routes of infection transmission can be direct (hands, airborne droplets) or indirect (hand-contact material surfaces, cleaning utensils). The indirect way of infection transmission by inanimate surfaces is important for public areas with high throughput of people, such as in public transportation. Areas where large numbers of people come together, as train stations or airports, are at high risk and allow for rapid spreading of microbes. Numerous modifications of materials surfaces have been tested for antimicrobial behavior to avoid the transmission of infections via inanimate surfaces.
The HyFly project aims to understand and interrupt the infection routes in air traffic. Therefore, an analysis of risk factors for infection transmission across sectors will be performed for aircraft and airports. Different subprojects focus on solutions to improve cleaning strategies, characterize and optimize materials surfaces and develop diagnostics applicable in air traffic.
In one part of this project, we identified different materials and hot spots for pathogen transmission within airports. One important material surface we identified is high-pressure laminates (HPL). We demonstrated that a HPL surface can be nanostructured with oxygen plasma. The resulting surface structure depends on the power and duration of the plasma treatment. Microbial tests showed that the resulting structure reduces antimicrobial adhesion. Further, the nanostructure stability against abrasion and cleaning solutions was tested. A reduction of the nanostructure was observed.
We present a new way to structure a HPL surface which reduces microbial adhesion. This structure has the potential to interrupt infection transmission in public transportation.
This work is supported by the InfectControl2020 HYFLY project (Effective strategies for the controlling and dealing with transmission pathway of pathogens in air traffic, grant No. 03ZZ0812A) and InfectControl2020 TFP project (Subproject TV9: Prevention strategies in infection-sensitive buildings – a material-scientific study, grant No. 03ZZ0802I) both funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany.