Enhanced Anti-Fouling Properties of Novel Composite Material


Project ID: D2013-31

Novelty: Development of a novel electromagnetic polymer composite material for enhanced anti-fouling effects.

Background: Biofouling (bacterial attachment to solid surfaces and colonization) is the main source of bacterial infection and poses potentially harmful impacts on human health. Medical devices, food packaging, and drinking water distribution systems are all susceptible to biofouling. For example, biofouling in an indwelling urinary tract catheter (IUTC) is the cause of 80% of urinary tract infections (UTI), the most common hospital associated infection. Controlling biointerfacial phenomena is crucial and there is a constant need to develop versatile, convenient, and cost effective strategies for rendering surfaces resistant to fouling by proteins, cells, and bacteria.

Invention description: Researchers at the University of Toledo have developed novel polymer composite material which exhibit excellent anti-biofouling properties. The coating material consists of conductive natural polymers and magnetic particles which, when brought in contact with flowing electrolytes, generate electric currents that interfere with the microbial adhesion process. Other advantages of the technology are:

·        Self-generated electric voltage via liquid flow reinforces the anti-fouling capability.

·        Permanent coating that has the surface properties to repel bacteria.

·        Inexpensive as compared to other anti-fouling materials.

The lab tests with the coating on a flat plastic slide installed in a flow cell showed a 70-78% decrease in the initial cell and protein attachment compared with a regular plastic slide. Previously, these researchers demonstrated successful polymerization of cardanol through enzymatic polymerization and the anti-biofouling effect of a surface coating formed by the cross-linked polycardanol [1].

In a second application, the coating protected a metal plate from green algae growth after being submerged in seawater for two months.


Application: biomedical, water treatment, ship building, and home/industrial appliances

IP status: US Utility Patent 9,675,717


[1]. Kim et al. Polymerization of cardanol using soybean peroxidase and its potential application as anti-biofilm coating material. [Link]

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katherine Pollard
Licensing Associate
The University of Toledo
Dong Shik Kim
Youngwoo Seo
Urinary tract catheter