The Universitat Jaume I of Castelló and the Universidade Federal de São Carlos in Brazil have developed a procedure to obtain a metal-carbon semiconductor compound that presents excellent antimicrobial properties, stability and low cytotoxicity, which facilitates its use as an antimicrobial additive or coating in sectors such as the automotive, construction or equipment of facilities, sensors or catalysts, among others.

The search for effective antimicrobial solutions to address the contamination of materials by various microorganisms presents some challenges, such as the increasing resistance to traditional antimicrobials, the rapid spread of infectious agents and the constant adaptation of microorganisms. In this context, innovations in antimicrobial materials take center stage by contributing to effective strategies for the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases.

The new composite material obtained presents outstanding advantages over other materials already used, such as excellent stability; low cytotoxicity -damage to other materials-; antimicrobial effect without the need to activate it; or the versatile application as an antimicrobial agent and additive on different surfaces and polymeric bases. “A more effective process than organic ones has been devised to oxidize – burn – fungi and bacteria; in reality, two highly antioxidant compounds are generated that destroy bacteria,” the researchers explained.

The procedure used in the preparation of the composite material, validated on an experimental scale in the laboratory environment, is carried out under mild synthesis conditions – low temperature and times – and no secondary synthetic waste is generated during its execution. The two universities seek its development and adaptation in specific applications through specific agreements and subsequent licensing agreements with the business sector.

The project has been developed by researcher Marcelo de Assis of the public university of Castellón and Lara Kelly Ribeiro, Bruna Fragelli of Lima, Joice Margarete Almeida, Rodolpho Igor Mesquita, Mariana Ottaiano Gonçalves, Cristina Paiva de Sousa and Fernanda Freitas of the Federal University of São Carlos in Brazil.

For thirty years, the collaboration between the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Laboratory of the UJI, directed by Professor Juan Andrés Bort, and the Center for the Development of Functional Materials of the UFSCar, directed by Professor Elson Longo, has allowed obtain new materials and technologies, with the association of theoretical and experimental methods, where the properties of the materials are controlled based on the density of defects, which results in better performance and functionality.

The research staff of these two scientific structures have published more than a hundred articles on semiconductors in the most prestigious journals of chemistry, physics, materials science and nanotechnology.

The research projects that have resulted in the presentation of this new compound have been funded by Spanish and Brazilian entities: Ministry of Science and Innovation (PID2022-141089NB-I00); Generalitat Valenciana through the Consellery for Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society (CIAICO/2021/122); Ministry of Universities, through the postdoctoral contract Margarita Salas (UP2021-02), the Foundation for the Protection of Research of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

The Universitat Jaume I, through the Office of Cooperation and Technological Development and the Vice-Rector’s Office for Transfer, Innovation and Scientific Dissemination, facilitate the scientific and technological transfer of its research staff with the purpose of advancing its vocation of transmission and dissemination of knowledge. scientific, technical, social and humanistic.

The CDMF is one of the Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (CIDD) supported by the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP) and also receives investments from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the National Institute of Materials Science and Technology in Nanotechnology (INCTMN).