Bio-Medicine (February 11, 2007)
"Three types of alloy surfaces containing at least 90 per cent copper completely eliminate E. coli O157:H7, according to an ongoing UK study of the pathogen-killing// properties of the metal.
"The study gives machine makers a range of options when deciding on the mix of metals they use to coat the insides of their cooking surfaces, thus providing processors with a better means of eliminating E coli contamination in their products. E. Coli O157:H7 is a harmful bacterium primarily found in raw and undercooked ground beef or foods that come into contact with raw meat...."
"...The study was originally published in the June 2006 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
"The Copper Development Association Inc. and the International Copper Association Ltd funded the study...."
I'm going to skip the part where I discuss how this could be a conspiracy by Big Copper, but probably isn't.
Seriously, quite a range of microbes don't do at all well when they're in contact with copper.
There are a number of ways of looking at it.
There's this article's approach: suggesting that copper-lined cooking and food preparation tools could cut down on bacterial contamination. Not eliminate it entirely, of course: selfish or negligent fools can bollix up the best system. Remember the strange case of the poisoned peanuts, earlier this year?
Copper might be useful, further back on the food supply chain. "How Good Are Our Options With Copper, Bio-controls and Alliette for Fire Blight Control?" (Paul W. Steiner, Extension Fruit Pathologist, University of Maryland, College Park (January 13, 1998)) discussed one facet of that possibility.
And, maybe copper or copper alloy in doorknobs and railings in places like hospitals could help cut down on the transmission of bacterial infections.
More about copper:
- "Properties of Copper"
Geology Project, University of Nevada, Reno (May 20, 1997)