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article imageNew antibacterial polymer developed for sportswear

By Tim Sandle     Feb 17, 2013 in Science
An antibacterial polymer, a suitable material for sportswear, diapers and bandages, has been developed by scientists in Sweden.
The newly developed polymer kills bacteria by attracting them directly to the surface of the material. This happens because polymer has a positive charge and bacteria generally have a negative charge, according to a research brief.
As well as being able to kill a range of bacteria, the polymer also appears to be relatively 'eco-friendly', in that the fibers of the polymer are attached to cellulose in a stable way, which means that they cannot be easily released into the environment (unlike other antibacterial agents, which can also cause river pollution).
Although there are many types of 'antibacterial' clothing on the market, mainly sports clothes and shoes, these use antibacterial agents such as triclosan and silver ions (where the main selling point is that the antibacterial agents will remove the unpleasant odors that arise from bacteria formation). However, these types of biocides have a tendency to leak into the environment when the treated garments or surfaces are washed. This leads to a faster loss of efficiency. It also raises a that bacteria could, over time, become resistant to the antimicrobial effect in a similar way that many types of bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.
The material has been developed by researchers based at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
Readers should note that the details about the actual polymer have not been revealed and that the researchers have not yet gone to publication with the results. If this happens, the Digital Journal will provide an update.
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