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Materials use nitric oxide to kill bacteria

By
11:10am, September 13, 2001

Bacteria that grow on implanted medical devices can wreak havoc. Now, a novel coating may offer a new way to fend off microbial buildup on catheters, artificial hips, and replacement cardiac valves.

Recently, chemists have been creating materials that emit nitric oxide (NO), an antibacterial chemical that the body produces. Much of the research has focused on using polymers containing NO-releasing chemical groups called diazeniumdiolates to prevent blood clotting. A drawback to those materials is that the loosely associated NO donors can leach out of the material and go elsewhere in the body.

Mark H. Schoenfisch and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill have made a different type of NO-emitting films by covalently bonding diazeniumdiolates to a siloxane-based polymer.

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