Israeli company Nano Textile has introduced an innovative technology that can transfer any type of fabric to one that kills bacteria. The unique, cost effective technology, which permanently prevents the growth of bacteria on both natural and synthetic fibers, can prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections and reduce cross contamination between patients and medical staff, thus significantly reducing secondary infections.
The technology transforms any readymade fabric into antibacterial textile by embedding zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles onto the fabric. ZnO is known for its antibacterial properties and has been approved by the FDA as safe. Nanoparticles of ZnO eradicates even antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA. The technology, which has been patented in the US and Israel, and is awaiting approval in Europe and Asia was developed by Professor Aharon Gedanken from the Department of Chemistry at Bar Ilan University, Israel, with funding of €12 million from the EU’s FP7 program.
It is based on sonochemistry, an extremely effective method to coat surfaces with nanoparticles. ZnO nanoparticles are formed in the solution via a sonochemical process and subsequently to their creation they are thrown to the textile’s surface. During the sonochemical process, molecules undergo a chemical reaction due to the application of powerful ultrasound radiation (20KHz-10MHz). The physical phenomenon responsible for the sonochemical process is acoustic cavitation. During the acoustic cavitation, bubbles are formed in the liquid, and continuously grow, until they reach a maximum size in which they collapse. When a bubble collapses near a solid surface, microjets of the liquid are formed moving at a very high speed (>500 m/sec). These microjets throw the newly-formed NPs (ZnO) at the surface of the substrate (the textile) at such a high speed that they strongly adhere to the surface.
The novel technology enables the cost-effective creation of antibacterial fabrics using any desired fabric, without changing its appearance, since ZnO is colorless. In addition, the fabrics can withstand up to 65 wash cycles at 92 °C and up to 100 wash cycles at 75 °C, far beyond the standard requirements of medical facilities, without losing their antibacterial properties. The process and these findings have been described in an article published by Prof. Gedanken’s lab, in the scientific journal Cellulose.
“The main advantages of the technology is that it can apply anti-bacterial properties to any kind of readymade fabric, the treatment does not at all alter the fabric’s color, and the entire process is extremely cost-effective,” said Prof. Aharon Gedanken. “In a hospital setting, for example, our technology can be used for inserting anti-bacterial characteristics to staff uniforms, patients’ pajamas, linen, blankets and curtains, in order to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality and in parallel reduce hospitalization costs.”
Nano Textile president Lilac Mandeles said, “After establishing proof-of-concept, we are now in the process of raising the necessary capital to begin operations. The potential for our antibacterial fabric technology reaches far beyond medical applications, as it is relevant to a variety of industries such as airplanes, trains and luxury cars in the transportation industry; babywear, sports clothing and undergarments in the clothing industry, restaurants and hotels in the entertainment and tourist industries.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 14, 2016
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