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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Antimicrobial activity of copper surfaces against suspensions of Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni

Gustavo Faúndez, Miriam Troncoso, Paola Navarrete and Guillermo Figueroa*

Author Affiliations

Laboratory of Microbiology, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile. Macul 5540 Santiago, Chile

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BMC Microbiology 2004, 4:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-4-19

Published: 30 April 2004



Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni are amongst the more prevalent bacterial pathogens that cause foodborne diseases. These microorganisms are common contaminants of poultry and poultry products. This study was aimed to evaluate the antibacterial activity of metallic copper surfaces on these important enteropathogens, and to determine the potential acquisition of copper by food exposed to this metal.


The antibacterial activity of copper surfaces was evaluated overlying them with suspensions of 106 CFU/ml of S. enterica and C. jejuni. Bacterial counts obtained after 0, 2, 4 and 8 hours at 10°C and 25°C were compared with those obtained in stainless steel and a synthetic polymer as control surfaces. The results showed that when these enteropathogens were kept in contact with copper a significant antibacterial activity was noted, on the contrary when the same load of pathogen suspensions were tested over the control surfaces it was found that the bacterial counts remained unchanged or even increased with time. The potential acquisition of copper by food exposed to this surface was also evaluated. Meat exposed for one hour to a copper surface adsorbed residual copper in a time dependant manner.


These results shows that metallic copper surfaces have an antibacterial activity against S. enterica and C. jejuni and suggest its potential application as an inhibitory agent in the various stages of the food processing operations.

copper; antibacterial activity; Salmonella; Campylobacter