Scientists are developing and testing new self-sanitising plaster with more powerful antibacterial effects than penicillin. The material could be used in wall coatings, paints, art works and other products.
Liang-jie Yuan of Wuhan University in China and colleagues have developed the new, first-of-its kind plaster - formed from different ingredients from traditional gypsum plaster - that retains plaster's mechanical properties while having added antibacterial effects.
Lab tests showed that the so-called "supramolecular" plaster has a "very broad" antibacterial spectrum, killing five types of disease-causing bacteria.
When compared with penicillin, the plaster was more effective at controlling growth of four kinds of bacteria, including dangerous Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
"It can be expected that the supramolecular plaster can be used for building, painting, coating and carving, and the coat, brick, or art ware constructed by the plaster do not need additive antiseptic or sterilisation," the study authors said, according to a Wuhan release.
These results were published in the current issue of American Chemcial Society's Crystal Growth & Design, a bi-monthly journal.
Plaster has been used for centuries as building material and surfaces for great works of art, including Michelangelo's famed Sistine Chapel ceiling in Vatican City.