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  • Research Says Edible Oil Can Make Stainless Steel Surface Antibacterial
    Aug 03, 2018

    According to foreign media reports, the inescapable scratches on the surface of stainless steel seem insignificant to us, but they provide a "port of shelter" for microbacteria. Scientists at the University of Toronto have developed a method that uses an amazingly simple substance, edible oil, to make it difficult for microorganisms to get into the scratches.

    Researchers have been studying ways to treat the surface of food processing machinery steel to prevent pathogenic bacteria from depositing on it and forming biofilms. They found that when these surfaces were chemically treated with alkyl phosphonic acids and then coated with a layer of food oil, the oil would be filled with all tiny corners and crevices, making it difficult for bacteria to enter.

    When tested on the internal surfaces of stainless steel food processing machines, the results were a 1,000-fold reduction in Pseudomonas aeruginosa levels in these devices. Even when most of the oil layers are removed, the antibacterial effect still exists, indicating that oil remains in the scratches. Although disinfectants are commonly used to kill bacteria in such machines, nontoxic oils are quite safe for humans and bacteria cannot tolerate them.

    "Daily cooking oil on stainless steel surfaces has been shown to be very effective in removing bacteria," said Ben Hatton, the study's lead author. "Oil fill cracks, form hydrophobic layer, and act as a barrier for surface contaminants." The study included Dr. Darel Asker and Dr. Tarek Awad.