In 2003, the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA) of the Universidad de Chile led a series of experiments geared towards proving that copper did indeed give an antimicrobial added value. These studies followed 2 protocols, as follows:

– Isolation and characterization of pathogenic flora.
– Identification and characterization of non-pathogenic flora.
– In Vitro determination of the susceptibility of pathogens and native micro-flora to copper sulfate.
– Determination of plasmids in strains of fusobacterium.



– Comparison of pathogenic and non-pathogenic flora in animals shoed with and without copper-alloy horseshoes.
– Detecting presence of copper in tissues and serum of animals shoed with and without copper-alloy horseshoes.
– Clinical follow-up of animals shoed with and without copper-alloy horseshoes.

ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF COPPER-ALLOY HORSESHOES (Actividad Antibacterial de Herraduras de Aleación de Cobre) Rivas P, Acuña M, Figueroa A, Troncoso M, Cárdenas M,Ruiz M and Figueroa G. Microbiology Laboratory, INTA, Universidad de Chile.
Infectious pathologies may damage horse hooves. Recent studies show that metallic copper or alloys containing it have an antibacterial effect on E. coli O157:H7, S. enteric and C. jejuni.

Limited bacterial growth and an absence of polymicrobial cultures in the group of horses with the copper horseshoes, as opposed to the situation in the control group, suggest that this metal exerts local antibacterial action on the pathogens. (2003)