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Food Microbiol. 2012 May;30(1):303-10. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Antimicrobial activity of different copper alloy surfaces against copper resistant and sensitive Salmonella enterica.

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Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona, 1117 E. Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Copper has shown antibacterial effects against foodborne pathogens. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial activity of copper surfaces on copper resistant and sensitive strains of Salmonella enterica. Six different copper alloy coupons (60-99.9% copper) were tested along with stainless steel as the control. The coupons were surface inoculated with either S. Enteritidis or one of the 3 copper resistant strains, S. Typhimurium S9, S19 and S20; stored under various incubation conditions at room temperature; and sampled at various times up to 2 h. The results showed that under dry incubation conditions, Salmonella only survived 10-15 min on high copper content alloys. Salmonella on low copper content alloys showed 3-4 log reductions. Under moist incubation conditions, no survivors were detected after 30 min-2 h on high copper content alloys, while the cell counts decreased 2-4 logs on low copper content coupons. Although the copper resistant strains survived better than S. Enteritidis, they were either completely inactivated or survival was decreased. Copper coupons showed better antimicrobial efficacy in the absence of organic compounds. These results clearly show the antibacterial effects of copper and its potential as an alternative to stainless steel for selected food contact surfaces.

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