A new form of paper made of fine sheets of carbon could help fight disease-causing bacteria in applications like food packaging that keeps food fresher longer and shoes that ward off foot odor.
Chunhai Fan, Qing Huang, and colleagues said that scientists in the United Kingdom first discovered the material known as graphene in 2004.
Since then, its commercial and industrial uses are being found.
Scientists have tried to use graphene in solar cells, computer chips, and sensors. Fan and Huang decided to see how graphene affects living cells.
They made sheets of paper from graphene oxide, and then tried to grow bacteria and human cells on top. Bacteria were unable to grow on the paper, and it had little adverse effect on human cells.
"Given the superior antibacterial effect of graphene oxide and the fact that it can be mass-produced and easily processed to make freestanding and flexible paper with low-cost, we expect this new carbon nano-material may find important environmental and clinical applications," the report says.
The report about the anti-bacterial material was published in the journal ACS Nano.