Journal of Undergraduate Research


surgery, biofilm phenotype, antimicrobial solution, hypochlorous acid, mechanical integrity


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering


Patients who undergo surgery may experience infection in the surgical site due to bacteria with a biofilm phenotype. This biofilm can render the bacteria resilient to standard antibiotics and the wound must be disinfected with an antimicrobial solution. Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a commonly used surgical antimicrobial used to disinfect these surgical sites. However, there is uncertainty as to whether the HOCl affects the stiffness and strength of the remaining sutures. These sutures are typically absorbable and need to maintain their integrity for the wound to heal properly. The purpose of this mentored research was to determine the effects of HOCl on the mechanical integrity of commonly used surgical sutures. Dr. Anton Bowden was my mentor throughout the research and testing and Dr. Rob Ferguson, M.D. was our consulting doctor.