Developing an engineered antimicrobial/prophylactic system using electrically activated bactericidal metals

Thomas A. Fuller, Richard A. Wysk, Charumani Charumani, Mary Kennett, Wayne J. Sebastiennelli, Rachel Abrahams, Rohan A. Shirwaiker, Robert C. Voigt, Patricia Royer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The increased use of Residual Hardware Devices (RHDs) in medicine combined with antimicrobial resistant-bacteria make it critical to reduce the number of RHD associated osteomyelitic infections. This paper proposes a surface treatment based on ionic emission to create an antibiotic environment that can significantly reduce RHD associated infections. The Kirby-Bauer agar gel diffusion technique was adopted to examine the antimicrobial efficacy of eight metals and their ionic forms against seven microbes commonly associated with osteomyelitis. Silver ions (Ag+) showed the most significant bactericidal efficacy. A second set of experiments, designed to identify the best configuration and operational parameters for Ag+ based RHDs addressed current and ionic concentrations by identifying and optimizing parameters including amperage, cathode and anode length, separation between anode and cathode, and surface charge density. The system demonstrated an unparalleled efficacy. The concept was then implemented during in vitro testing of an antimicrobial hip implant, RHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2103-2114
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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