Consumers concerned about safety of silver ions in antibacterial and odor-free clothing will soon have a proven safe alternative thanks to ultra-thin thread and a substance found naturally in red algae.
The use of silver ions for antibacterial textiles has been a matter of hot debate worldwide. Sweden’s national agency for chemical inspection is one authority which has ruled silver a health risk, citing possible damage to human genetic material, reproduction and embryonic development.
Mikael Hedenqvist, professor of polymer materials at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, says he and his colleagues, assistant professor Richard Olsson and doctoral student Rickard Andersson, have produced new antibacterial fibres that combine bio-compatible plastics with the antimicrobial compound, lanosol, which is commonly found in seaweeds of the family Rhodophyta, or red algae.
“The substance is a good alternative to particle-based antibacterials for clothing, as well as compresses or bandages,” Hedenqvist says.
Using a process called electrospinning, they have succeeded in creating an ultra-thin thread, which means fabrics can have more contact between the antibacterial fibre and the surrounding area.
“Electrospinning produces quite thin thread, with a thickness on the order of one-hundreth of a human hair,” Hedenqvist says. The result is more effective clean-up of bacteria.
The Latest on: Antibacterial textiles
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The Latest on: Antibacterial textiles
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