The Benefits of Copper and BIO-C29: A Technology That Eliminates Up to 99.9% of Fungi

In an effort to create a high-impact solution during the current global pandemic, the Peru-based Grupo LAMOSA decided to generate a line of ceramics with antiviral properties of Copper Nanoparticles (NanCu). The team decided to kick-off the distribution of BIO-C29 technology through its range of BIO-CER products. This solution was achieved through a collaboration between Mauricio Méndez (Industrial Director) and Jenny Morales (LATAM Technical Manager) from Cerámica San Lorenzo-Grupo LAMOSA, in conjunction with Nano Quantum Group SpA. The result is a capable protective layer that considerably eradicates infectious agents, creating disinfected architectural spaces free of health hazards.

According to the team, 'copper is known worldwide for its bactericidal characteristics as it manages to eliminate different types of microorganisms by releasing ions, as well as being the material with the largest spectrum of antimicrobial action, to which is added its antiviral and antifungal capabilities.'

The technology, developed for the BIO-CER Ceramic product line, is based on the high release of ions generated by copper in its metallic state, producing free radicals with high biocidal capacity (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and yeasts) even acting against microorganisms such as Human Coronavirus 229E, Influenza H1N1, Escherichia Coli, Candida Albicans, Staphylococcus Areus and Aspergillus Niger. Additionally, this new development has been tested by the TCNA (Tile Council of North America) and the INTA Laboratory of the University of Chile.

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© Gudrun Muenz / Shutterstock

But how does it actually work? There are a number of ways in which nanoparticles kill microorganisms, but we can essentially boil it down to two: directly or indirectly. In the first group, the copper nanoparticle manages to penetrate the membrane of the microorganism (typically bacteria) and, once inside, triggers a series of chemical and biochemical reactions that destabilize the organism. The second group is related to the catalytic activity of the copper nanoparticle and its ability to release copper ions, which in turn attack microorganisms.

'Copper is capable of eliminating different viruses, and it has been proven that copper surfaces are able to eliminate the coronavirus in less than four hours, being the most efficient surface compared to others such as plastics, cardboard, steel, and others,' they add.

The copper nanoparticles used are of zero valences, which means that they are in an oxidation-free metallic state. In addition, copper has Z + (positive) potential, which allows the union with other particles in a natural way (other materials are neutral or negative), preserving the chemical, physical, electrical, and electronic properties of solid copper. This allows molecular bonding with different organic components. The size and morphology of the nanoparticles, together with the experience and technical support studies, allow the generation of a protective film with biocidal capabilities, delivering high performance in coating applications and promoting economic viability in nanotechnology projects.

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Courtesy of Grupo LAMOSA / BIO-CER

The Use and Properties of Copper

The uses of copper are numerous and range from the manufacture of musical instruments and water supply pipes to its application in the internal parts of refrigerators, microwaves, and air conditioning systems. In the case of computer heat sinks, copper is used for its ability to absorb a large amount of heat. As a good conductor of electricity, copper is also used in copper cables, electromagnets, relays, and electrical switches, and because of its resistance to oxidation, has been used to make containers that contain water since ancient times. In addition, it can be combined with nickel to create a corrosion-resistant material used in shipbuilding.

Today, nanotechnology allows copper, with its antibacterial properties, to begin to innovate in the hygiene market through creams, gels, soaps, and coatings.

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Courtesy of Grupo LAMOSA / BIO-CER

Antibacterial Properties of Copper

As we have mentioned, copper inactivates germs, bacteria, and viruses on surfaces, as well as being a natural inhibitor of the growth of unwanted microorganisms. It has scientifically proven bactericidal characteristics, which are of great help to health systems. Copper should be considered, given its bactericidal property, as an essential material to prevent diseases that can spread in public areas and in hospitals. It is a powerful antimicrobial agent that is now being used in various items such as bed rails and handrails, chair armrests, regulation levers, handles, light switches, changing rooms, and in ceramics such as BIO-CER.

In February 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the registration of 275 copper alloys with high bactericidal effectiveness, particularly for use in hospital infrastructure. With all these results obtained worldwide, copper is certified as an effective metal in the fight against the reproduction of pathogens on contact surfaces.

Nanotechnology and Nanocopper

Scientifically, nanotechnology is the field of applied science that manipulates matter at the nanometer (nm) scale. Nanoparticles are particles whose size is between 1 and 100 nm. Nanotechnology applications are highly beneficial for the development of new products as they provide tools that allow raw materials or materials to be preserved, improved and/or acquire new properties.

In the case of copper, its physical and chemical properties, being in nanoparticle size, are exponentially enhanced since its surface capacity increases many times, and this plays a very important role in disinfectant applications. It is these properties that allow the development of commercial sanitation products, with their derivatives based on hydroalcohols, quaternary ammonium, and chlorinated compounds. The general applications of nanocopper range from the production of antibacterial and antifungal materials and products, to nanoconductors and nanocatalysts from chemical reactions.

Find more information on these products and their properties on the BIO-CER site.

About this author
Cite: Olivia Bartolini. "The Benefits of Copper and BIO-C29: A Technology That Eliminates Up to 99.9% of Fungi" 08 Sep 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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