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Research Assessment #3

Persistence of Nosocomial Pathogens on Various Fabrics

Date: 10/18/20

Subject: Persistence of Nosocomial Pathogens on Various Fabrics

MLA/APA citation:  

Koca, Ozlem et al. “Persistence of nosocomial pathogens on various fabrics.” The Eurasian journal of medicine vol. 44,1

        (2012): 28-31. doi:10.5152/eajm.2012.06


        The majority of my research that I have conducted so far centers around the bacteria and fungus that can grow on horses and how their sweat contributes to that. Since my original work is to find a saddle pad that combats this problem of growth, an important focus of my research needs to be on materials that do not keep bacteria alive for long periods of time. This particular article focuses on the amount of days certain strains of bacteria can survive on common fabrics including cotton, cotton polyester, silk, and wool (Koca). While this particular article focuses more on the medical world than the equine science world I still found it a viable source because it is imperative that hospitals keep bacterial and fungal infection to a minimum, which is a goal of my original work. 

        There are several references in the article to the importance of the “proper disinfection or sterilization of fabrics” and how they should “be followed in order to minimize cross contamination” (Koca). This particular reference to a sterile and clean environment allowed me to recognize that the cross contamination between horses in a non sterile environment such as a barn must be huge. Not only are the barns or pens not sterilized but the saddle pads used every day are not cleaned on a regular basis. This begs the question, is the growth of fungus and bacteria in part due to the fact that there are no cleaning or sanitizing practices in the equestrian world? What if there was a way to cut down on the cross contamination simply by effectively cleaning equipment and most importantly the saddle pads? While it is unclear at this time if the bacteria that horses encounter is as contagious and spreadable as the bacteria referenced in this article it is important to understand that there may be a correlation and that the connection should be explored in later research. 

        The results of the experiment yielded that the “median survival times” for the bacteria and fungus were “26 days on cotton, 26.5 days on cotton and polyester, 28 days on silk, and 30 days on wool” (Koca). The interesting thing to me about these results is that they tend to go against the idea that new technology in the area of materials is more beneficial than older, more simplistic material. Previously, I had assumed that the fancy, sport, sweat wicking materials would be important in the protection against the cultivation and growth of fungus and bacteria. While this experiment does not test these more specialized fabrics, it is apparent that some kind of cotton composition in the fabric of the saddle pad could be important to limiting the growth and spread of the bacteria and fungus. It would be interesting to see how the results of this experiment might change if there was a wider array of fabrics to test. In this case, there is definitely a need for more research on whether or not a fabric with some kind of cotton composition is the best material for my saddle pad. 

        While this article was interesting and gave me some basic information about which direction I should look in when working on the decision about what materials to use, it did not give me the in depth information I was looking for. Additionally, the article focused more on the medical side while I will need to focus more on the animal science and chemical engineering side. Overall, the article was quite informative and has allowed me to gain a basic understanding of common materials used in a more sterile environment and how that affects the spread of bacteria and fungus between patients. The next steps regarding this avenue in my research include figuring out what kinds of materials are used in a typical saddle pad and taking a deeper look into the types of materials that hurt or help bacterial or fungal growth.

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