Genes involved in copper resistance influence survival of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on copper surfaces

J Appl Microbiol. 2009 May;106(5):1448-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2009.04148.x. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Aims: To evaluate the killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 on copper cast alloys and the influence of genes on survival on copper containing medium and surfaces.

Methods and results: Different strains of P. aeruginosa were inoculated on copper containing medium or different copper cast alloys and the survival rate determined. The survival rates were compared with rates on copper-free medium and stainless steel as control. In addition, the effect of temperature on survival was examined.

Conclusions: Copper cast alloys had been previously shown to be bactericidal to various bacteria, but the mechanism of copper-mediated killing is still not known. In this report, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa PAO1 is rapidly killed on different copper cast alloys and that genes involved in conferring copper resistance in copper-containing medium also influenced survival on copper cast alloys. We also show that the rate of killing is influenced by temperature.

Significance and impact of the study: To use copper surfaces more widely as bactericidal agents in various settings, it is important to understand how genes influence survival on these surfaces. Here we show that genes shown to be involved in copper resistance in P. aeruginosa PAO1 can have an impact on the length of survival time on copper cast alloys under certain conditions. This is an important first step for evaluation of future use of copper surfaces as bactericidal agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alloys
  • Copper / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Alloys
  • Copper