Health & Wellness

Rutgers Researchers See Paper as a Defense Against Bacteria

Paper-based Plasma Sanitizers Credits: Mazzeo Research Group Rutgers
Rutgers researchers found that paper-based plasma generators can sanitize surfaces with 10 seconds of treatment. Credits: Jingjin Xie/Rutgers University

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Could paper be the key to killing dangerous bacteria?

It appears so, according to researchers from the Rutgers University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

In a recent study, the team created an “inexpensive, effective” method to destroy bacteria and sanitize surfaces through devices made of metallized paper that receive a high-voltage charge, according to Rutgers. Experiments suggested that these paper-based sanitizers can kill more than 99 percent of one kind of yeast species and more than 99.9 percent of the infamous E. Coli bacteria.

Sign Up for E-News

“Preliminary results showed that our sanitizers can kill spores from bacteria, which are hard to kill using conventional sterilization methods,” Qiang (Richard) Chen, a co-author and doctoral candidate in the university’s department of plant biology, told Rutgers Today.

Here’s how it works: The paper contains thin layers of aluminum and patterns that ultimately act as electrodes, allowing for the production of plasma. That plasma is essentially a triple-threat of heat, ultraviolet radiation and ozone—which work to obliterate bad microbes.

The researchers claim that they are the first to use paper to generate plasma.

If this revelation were to be applied in the future, paper-based sanitizers could help produce self-sterilizing clothes, cleaning equipment for laboratories and even “smart bandages,” according to the researchers.

“Paper is an ancient material, but it has unique attributes for new, high-tech applications,” Aaron Mazzeo, an assistant professor at Rutgers, said.

From here, the team plans to test exactly how effective the new sanitizer is at killing spores. The researchers also hope to invent new procedures or technology based on how human and animal skill protects against microbes and bacteria.

The study grew from a desire to “create personal protective equipment that might contain the spread of infectious diseases,” like the 2014 Ebola out break, according to Rutgers.

Mazzeo earned a 2017 National Science Foundation grant that will provide for continued research.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


East Brunswick: I Don't Wanna Close Up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

March 16, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick used to be the home of Meyer's toy store, an almost idyllic wonderland of all sorts of Barbies, parts for swimming pools, and clanging model trains until it closed in 2002.  Kay-Bee toy store was a popular stop at the Brunswick Square Mall until 2009, with a salesperson often displaying the newest gadget outside its door, causing eager kids ...


Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

ECSNJ Partnership with Rutgers Behavioral Health Helps Students Manage Life’s Challenges

March 19, 2018

PISCATAWAY, NJ – A collaboration with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is providing more behavioral and emotional support for students attending two Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) schools.

Appearing on ESCNJ’s Better Together podcast, Assistant Superintendent Gary Molenaar said Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care “is a recognized ...

Celebrate National Ag Day at the Middlesex County EARTH Center

EARTH CENTER, NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from agriculture. That is why America’s farmers and their crops are celebrated each year on National Ag Day, which falls this year on March 20.

To honor this day, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County has planned a new seminar entitled The State of Agriculture and ...

Piscataway Libraries Host Annual NJ Makers Day Program

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Piscataway Public Libraries were once again hosts to dozens of “makers” for the 4th Annual NJ Makers Day celebration.

The Saturday events at the Kennedy and Westergard Libraries featured activities and demonstrations by members of the maker culture with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) initiatives.

Among other ...

NCAA Tournament: Heilmann and DelVecchio Both Secure All-American Honors; Suriano Becomes Rutgers' First-Ever Finalist

CLEVELAND, OH -The senior class of South Plainfield High School’s “Murderer’s Row”, the 2013 team that earned a group title, two individual state titles, and produced five state placewinners, knows a thing or two about making wrestling history. The 2018 NCAA wrestling tournament marks the last time two standouts from 2013 team, Troy Heilmann and Scott DelVecchio, will ...

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM


The Basics of Starting a Business

Business & Finance

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

Palm Sunday

Religions And Spirituality

Hillsborough: Suspended HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 19, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been ...

Coffee, Tea or Fleas?

Two ducks are on a flight to Miami.  The first duck says to the second, “you flying south for the winter?”  The second duck replies, “Oh wow, a talking emotional support duck!”


Pa rum pum.


There have been a lot of news stories lately about animals traveling on airplanes.  Some are humorous, like the woman who recently tried to bring ...