A team of scientists from the University of Southampton has highlighted the benefits of copper in the fight against food poisoning viruses such as E.coli.

Copper was used in ancient Egypt to keep water fresh, and experiments conducted by the scientists have proven that its bacteria-killing properties give copper a useful modern application as well. At room temperature, the metal can kill the E.coli O157 virus in just four hours. The same bacteria can survive on stainless steel, the metal most commonly found on kitchen surfaces, for 34 days.

The tests were carried out as part of an international project to understand the properties of copper and see if they can be utilized on both commercial and domestic food preparation surfaces to minimize incidents of food poisoning.