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A novel approach for reaching highly effective antibacterial action using activated gold

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Partner keyword: 
Ceramic Materials and Powders
Metals and Alloys
Virus, Virology/Antibiotics/Bacteriology
Medical Biomaterials
Surgical implants
Surgical instrumentation and equipment
Pharmaceuticals/fine chemicals
Food and feed ingredients
Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering


A Slovenian research institute has developed a novel approach for reaching highly effective antibacterial action in a human- and environmentally- friendly way using active gold. The technology can be used for the formation of implants in orthopaedics, dentistry, plastic surgery, for antibacterial protection in first-aid material, in cosmetics for hygiene etc. The institute is looking for partners interested in a licensing agreement or research cooperation agreement.



A novel approach in which activated gold particles are used has been invented for formation of material with reduced toxicity and increased antibacterial activity. Gold nanoparticles, which are naturally inert for living organisms and ineffective against bacteria, are combined with ceramics and carefully selected organic biomolecules into composites with very high antibacterial activity. This material has been activated for antibacterial activity in such a manner that it is twice as efficient as compared to silver. At the same time it possesses very high in vitro biocompatibility which is a significant improvement in comparison with previously used materials. This invention is concerned with:

1. Material:

The functionalized ceramic/metallic (apatite structured material/gold) composite is formed of apatite plate-like, micrometer-sized particles as a carrier of spherical gold nanoparticles attached to their surface. Such gold nanoparticles are functionalized by natural-sourced amino acids essential for the human organism (glycine, histidine or arginine). The material is active against bacteria and entirely nontoxic to humans.

2. Synthesis procedure:

A sonochemical method has been developed for the synthesis of a functionalized ceramic/metallic composite. The procedure includes the use of ultrasonically dispersed apatite within an aqueous solution of gold-precursor. The reduction of the gold is initiated by amino acids and supported by the radicals formed after the sonication of a low concentration of isopropanol. The developed method is easy, fast, and does not use any toxic substances. Method also shows good possibilities for scale-up.

The Slovenian research institute is looking for industrial partners – manufacturers of products that need to have antibacterial properties such as implants in orthopaedics, dentistry, plastic surgery, first-aid material, cosmetics for hygiene (tooth pastes, mouthwash liquid, soaps, shower gels, etc.), paints etc. Important market application of antibacterial products are filters (component of face-masks, respirators or antibacterial layer inside air-conditioners for elimination of bacteria from air in hospitals, laboratories and enclosed public and domestic places, antibacterial filters inside refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, etc.). Food industry is also significant area for implementation of green and healthy materials that are able to prevent development of bacteria. These components are applicable for coating of the packaging as well as for chewing gums with antibacterial activity for prevention of caries and other dental and oral infections and as dietary supplement.

The industrial partners are expected to enter licensing agreements with the aim of implementing the antibacterial material into the existing or emerging products. If the industrial partner finds that complementarity between their products and the offered material needs to be improved, the Slovenian research institute is willing to enter into research cooperation agreement as well.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
Silver is a metal with natural antibacterial action. It belongs to the group of the most effective antibacterial agents today. This metal has strong action not only against various types of bacteria it is also active against many other pathogens including viruses and fungi. Moreover, because of its non-selective action against pathogens this metal is able to overcome resistivity issue regard all commercially available antibiotics today. Because of the listed properties, majority of the commercially available products with an antibacterial component contain silver for this function. However, the safety of already widely used silver nanoparticles has been questioned by European Union. The functionalized ceramic/metallic composite based on gold is a novel material, able to overcome the toxicity limitations of the silver. It is also at least twice as effective against bacteria compared to the same composites with a silver component. The listed characteristics make the presented material a very good candidate for the replacement of silver in all products on the market, especially those used for health care and cosmetics.

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Available for demonstration

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
Producers of implants in orthopaedics, dentistry, plastic surgery, first-aid material, cosmetics for hygiene (tooth pastes, mouthwash liquid, soaps, shower gels, etc.), filters, chewing gums and paints that have to have antibacterial properties. Role of partner sought: Implementation of the developed antibacterial material in their product in the case of license agreement. Specify the company's needs in order to reach implementation of the developed antibacterial material in the company's product in the case of research cooperation agreement.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500


Novel antimicrobial material under microscope