Killing Germs with Copper

This is a simple science experiment you can do to compare the antimicrobial properties of Stainless Steel and Copper:

  1. Press an unwashed finger onto coupons of copper (C110) and stainless steel (S304).

    NOTE: Items that may be used instead of a metal coupon include:
    Copper - a penny, piece of copper water tube or any other copper surface not coated with a lacquer
    Stainless Steel - stainless steel tableware, or other uncoated stainless steel surface.
  2. Set aside coupons for three hours at room temperature (around 68F).
  3. Press coupons onto nutrient agar plates, and incubate the plate at ~100F overnight (12 hours).

    NOTE: Nutrient agar plates may be obtained from a local hospital or from a science supply house. Homemade plates can be fashioned from a small empty cup lined with a double thickness of foil and fat-free beef or chicken broth. Instructions can found at the science projects web site.

Images of Bacteria Colony Formation

Stainless Steel S304Stainless Steel S304 with Extensive Growth
Copper C110Copper C110 showing no growth