Using a method similar to how the body breaks down fats, scientists have found a way to cheaply create silver nanoparticles for use in antibacterial paints.
The really important point, according to Rice post-doc Ashavani Kumar, is we now have a general method for producing nano-particle dispersions.
In the short term, manufacturers will soon be able to add silver nanoparticles to paint which gives it antibacterial properties -- perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. Not to mention hospitals and medical offices.
Careful, of course. Get the latex paint off those surfaces before you try applying this. Oil and water don't mix.
Oil really is a key to the whole thing. From the press release:
Polyunsaturated hydrocarbons undergo auto-oxidation-induced cross-linking, which is similar to lipid peroxidation, the process by which fatty acids are oxidized in biological systems. During this process a variety of chemically active species called 'free radicals' are generated. These were used by the group as a tool to prepare metal nanoparticles in situ in the oil medium.
Polyunsaturates, fatty acids, free radicals. Sounds like a diet infomercial, doesn't it?
Since Rice gets more than enough credit at this and my other blogs, I have here a picture of the lead investigator, Prof. George John of CCNY. (Go Beavers.)
The resulting oil-based paint has been shown effective against germs like E.Coli. You can get it in any color you like. Might I suggest lavendar and black? (I am personally partial to the blue and gray.)