Scientist works on spray-on coating to kill kitchen microbes

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Dr Fengge Gao from Nottingham Trent University is to use £50,000 of funding from the East Midlands Food and Drink Innovation Network (iNet), to develop a permanent spray-on coating for kitchen surfaces and processing equipment that will kill unwanted microbes.

The spray-on coating will provide food-preparation surfaces and processing equipment with permanent and safe antimicrobial properties. The material will also make surfaces water repellent — a property known as superhydrophobicity — which will make them easier to clean.

The nanoscience laboratory from the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University will be responsible for producing the spray-on material, in collaboration with colleagues from the University’s Microbiology Laboratory and School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences.

A team from Lincoln University’s Holbeach Campus will then be responsible for selecting and advising on surfaces that can be used for testing.

Dr Gao is a specialist in the use of nanotechnology for producing antimicrobial materials. In 2009, he led a research team from Nottingham Trent University that produced a new antimicrobial packaging material that prevents leaching from plastic bottles.

Funded by the East Midlands Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund, the Food and Drink iNet is one of four regional iNets to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.