A team of researchers developed a fabric using nanomaterial additives. The newly developed fabric produces chemicals similar to detergents, which has an ability to fight against bacterial infections such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Though use of nanomaterials in textile does not signify a new thought, current technologies depend on passive processes such as silver’s natural antibiotic properties. Silver is an exceptional antibacterial material. But it possesses few leeching properties and has some safety problems. Hence, Dr. Syed Tofail, Materials and Surface Science Institute at Limerick University, states that the scientists wanted to avoid use of silver in textiles.
Researchers claim that nanoparticles can be easily utilized into the existing textile finishing processes for various applications such as hospital upholstery, bed linens, and drapes.
Hence, the research team, including Comenius University in Slovakia and Wroclaw University in Poland, started conducting experiments with transition metal oxides that possess photocatalytic properties. These properties help to divide air-bound water particles into oxygen ions, when the metal oxides are light activated. The oxygen ions produced, known as reactive oxygen species (ROSs) in biological terms, is similar to those found in several detergents. These ROSs enter a bacterial cell and makes it inactive by damaging its DNA.
Teams’ preliminary tests show that a nanoparticle-based textile remains active against infections such as MRSA even after ten washes. With the artificial light or diffused sunlight, these nanoparticles are functional.
The team also explores several methods of integrating different transition metals into textile. Tofail states that the researchers have solved a major challenge that is how to make the nanomaterials get integrated in a tighter manner without its photocatalytical efficiency being affected. The European Commission has granted £4.4 million funding for this nano-based fabric research project under the Framework 7 initiative.