Antimicrobial Medical Textiles

Commercial Antimicrobial Agents and Fibres

Thomsan Research Associates markets a range of antimicrobials under the trade name Ultrafresh. for thetextile and polymer industry. Ultrafresh products were developed to be used in normal textile processes. Most Ultrafresh treatments are non-ionic and are compatible with a wide range of binders and finishes. To incorporate antibacterial into high temperature fibres like polyester and nylon, it is necessary to use an inorganic antimicrobial like Ultrafresh CA-16 or PA-42. These must be added as a special master batch to the polymer mixture before the extrusion process.

For fibres such as polypropylene which are extruded at lower temperatures, it is possible to use organic antimicro-bials such as Ultrafresh Nm-100, Dm-50 or XQ-32. In the case of Rossari’s Fabshield with AEGIS microbe shield programme, the cell membrane of the bacteria gets ruptured when the microbes come in contact with the treated surface. Thus, preventing consumption of antimicrobial over a period of time and remain functional throughout the life of the product. The active substance 3-Trimethoxy silyl propyl dimethyl octadecyl ammonium chloride gets attached to the substrate either through bond formation on the surface or by micropolymersing and forming a layer on the treated surface; the antimicrobial agent disrupts the cell membrane of the microbes through physical and ionic phenomena.

Ciba Speciality Chemicals markets Tinosan AM 110 as a durable antimicrobial agent for textiles made of polyester and polyamide fibres and their blends with cotton, wool or other fibres. Tinosan contains an active antimicrobial (2, 4, 4′- Trichloro-2′ – hydroxyl-dipenylether) which behaves like a colourless disperse dye and can be exhausted at a very high exhaustion rate on to polyester and polyamide fibres when added to the dye bath.

Clariant markets the Sanitized range of Sanitized AG, Switzerland for the hygienic finish of both natural and synthetic fibres. The branded Sanitized range functions as a highly effective bacteriostatic and fungistatic finishes and can be applied to textile materials such as ladies hosiery and tights. Actigard finishes from Clariant are used in carpets to combat action of bacteria, house dust mites and mould fungi.

Avecia’s Purista-branded products treated with Reputex 20 which is based on poly (hexamethylene) biguanide hydrochloride (PHMB) claimed to possess a low mammalian toxicity and broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. PHMB is particularly suitable for cotton and cellulosic textiles and can be applied to blends of cotton with polyester and nylon. In addition to the aforesaid antimicrobial agents, the fibres derived from synthetic with built-in antimicrobial properties.

Benefits of Antimicrobial Medical Textiles

A wide range textile product is now available for the benefit of the consumer. Initially, the primary objective of the finish was to protect textiles from being affected by microbes particularly fungi. Uniforms, tents, defence textiles and technical textiles, such as, geotextiles have therefore all been finished using antimicrobial agents. Later, the home textiles, such as, curtains coverings, and bath mats came with antimicrobial finish. The application of the finish is now extended to textiles used for outdoor, healthcare sector, sports and leisure.

Novel technologies in antimicrobial finishing are successfully employed in non-woven sector especially in medical textiles. Textile fibres with built-in antimicrobial properties will also serve the purpose alone or in blends with other fibres. Bioactive fibre is a modified form of the finish which includes chemotherapeutics in their structure, ie, synthetic drugs of bactericidal and fungicidal qualities. These fibres are not only used in medicine and health prophylaxis applications but also for manufacturing textile products of daily use and technical textiles.

The field of application of the bioactive fibres includes sanitary materials, dressing materials, surgical threads, materials for filtration of gases and liquids, air conditioning and ventilation, constructional materials, special materials for food industry, pharmaceutical industry, footwear industry, clothing industry, automotive industry etc.

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