Permanent spray-on antibacterial coating created


July 6, 2011

The University of Georgia has developed a permanent spray-on antibacterial coating, that can be applied to existing textiles or other materials (Photo: Gizmag)

The University of Georgia has developed a permanent spray-on antibacterial coating, that can be applied to existing textiles or other materials (Photo: Gizmag)

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A University of Georgia chemist has invented something that should be a boon to both hospital staff and athletes ... a permanent spray-on antibacterial polymer coating. It can be applied to natural and synthetic materials - just once - and even after repeated washings, will continue to kill a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and molds. In health care settings, it could be used on textiles such as lab coats, scrub suits, uniforms, gowns, gloves and linens, to protect patients from infections. It could also be used on athletic wear, along with shoes, socks, undergarments, and just about anything else that tends to get germy.

The exact principles at work in the coating are a trade secret, as the university is intending to license it to a commercial client. A paper on the technology only describes its makeup by stating "Antimicrobial copolymers of hydrophobic N-alkyl and benzophenone containing polyethylenimines were synthesized from commercially available linear poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline), and covalently attached to surfaces of synthetic polymers, cotton, and modified silicon oxide using mild photo-cross-linking."

The synthesis and application of the coating is said to be simple, inexpensive and scalable. Unlike some other antibacterial coatings, it can also be added after a product has been created, instead of having to be integrated into the production process. Should it get scraped or worn off, the exposed section of the item can simply be resprayed.

Assistant professor of chemistry Jason Locklin, who invented the coating, tested it on textiles that were exposed to pathogens such as staph, strep, E. coli, pseudomonas and acetinobacter. Even after 24 hours at a temperature of 37C (98.6F), no bacterial growth was detected on the samples. The coated textiles still displayed this germ-killing quality after numerous hot-water washes.

Besides its use on fabrics, U Georgia's patent-pending coating could also be used on items such as military apparel and gear, food packaging, plastic furniture, pool toys, medical and dental instrumentation, and bandages.

The research was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Won\'t this just lead to new superbugs?


Not if it indeed kills them all.

But I wonder if they\'ve got around to testing it with bacteria on human worn fabrics? Then there would be a food source for the bacteria to feed upon. Ie sweat, oil and skin flakes.

Big difference...

Stuart Halliday

This could be very good if applied to carpets, where all manner of bacteria must dwell only to be disturbed and recirculated when vacuum cleaned.

Also it would seem suitable for hard floor surfaces but surely would need periodic re-application.

How soon can we learn more?


Nothing new... Check our our product, Zoonocide/Zoonotex. Been there, done that. Now try and get the FDA to approve it. still waiting since 1976 !

Erwin Lapschies

@ Erwin - in your case, get hold of something like Strategic Selling from Miller & Heiman. If your product does what it says, what\'s the hold-up?

Nardu Malherbe

Didn\'t they have an issue with the silver embedded sports clothing a couple years ago? Seems that all that anti-bacterial stuff was coming off in the wash, and it got into the water treatment and started killing the beneficial bacteria.


I would love to try it on my sandals. They need to be treated with chlorine every week. But how would my skin react to contact to this?


How is this different than Titanium dioxide nano materials? It is used to line the insides of garbage bags to eliminate odors, it can kill microbes on contact. It also served as photocatalyst and can sterilize air and water in the presence of light.

I bought spray cans of these Titanium dioxide nano particles and spray them on seats of my cars and have made the car practically \"odorless\" after baking in the sun.

The nano particle can be component of paint and can be embedded in fibers just like what this report says. So this is really nothing new. Without saying what this \"discovery\" is made of, it may not be really different than the TiO2. Fortunately these are cheap materials.


I also suspect that Zoonocide/Zoonotex is really another formulation of Titanium Dioxide nano materials.


You can try essential oils which have antibacterial properties and also give exotic pleasant aroma depend on the type of essential oil..

Sahara Olive
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