LCD television waste turned into antibacterial
23 June 2010
Chemists at the University of York have discovered a way to
convert a key component of LCD screens into and anti-microbial
Researchers at the University's Department of Chemistry have
discovered a way of transforming the chemical compound
polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA), which is a key element of television sets
with liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, into an anti-microbial
substance that destroys infections such as Escherichia coli
and some strains of Staphylococcus aureus.
The York research team had earlier found a method of recovering
PVA from television screens and transforming it into a substance
which, due to its compatibility with the human body, could be
suitable for use in tissue scaffolds that help parts of the body
regenerate (see MTB Europe news
www.mtbeurope.info/news/2009/907044.htm). It could also be used
in pills and dressings that are designed to deliver drugs to
particular parts of the body.
Dr Hunt, of the York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, said:
"The influence of LCDs on modern society is dramatic — it is
estimated that 2.5 billion LCDs are approaching the end of their
life, and they are the fastest growing waste in the European Union.
"But we can add significant value this waste. By heating then
cooling the PVA and then dehydrating it with ethanol we can produce
a high surface-area mesoporous material that has great potential for
use in biomedicine.
"Now we have gone a step further by enhancing its anti-microbial
properties through the addition of silver nanoparticles, with the
result being that it can destroy bacterial infections such as E.
coli. Potentially, it could be used in hospital cleaning
products to help to reduce infections."
The project's next steps will be to test the PVA-based substance
against commercial compounds to determine relative effectiveness,
and to secure approval from regulatory agencies regarding the
suitability of silver nanoparticles for human health applications.
The research is a development from a long term project, funded by
the UK governments Technology Strategy Board, examining the problems
posed by LCD waste in which the University of York is a partner.