Nano Textile Fights Infection
Tanya Trofimencoff posted on July 13, 2016 |
Technology company transforms fabric into antibacterial textile through sonochemistry.
Contaminated surfaces increase cross-transmission. (Image courtesy of Intermedichbo.)
Contaminated surfaces increase cross-transmission. (Image courtesy of Intermedichbo.)
A new technology is capable of creating antibacterial properties on any type of fiber.

Nano Textile aims to prevent bacterial growth and its ability to spread in hospitals by applying nanotechnology to fabrics worn by medical staff and to various hospital materials. This can significantly reduce the exposure of hospital-acquired infections as well as cross-contamination between patients and medical staff.

How Nano Textiles Work

Ready-made fabric is transformed into antibacterial textile by embedding zincoxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) onto the fabric. ZnO, known for its antibacterial properties, caneradicate even antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA when in the form of NPs.

Through sonochemistry, textile surfaces are coated with ZnO NPs.A powerful ultrasound radiation (20KHz–10MHz) is applied and the chemical reaction occurs due to acoustic cavitation.

An example of how sonochemistry works; nanoparticles adhere to the wall surface through microjets from the ultrasonic application. (Image courtesy of Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications.)
An example of how sonochemistry works; nanoparticles adhere to the wall surface through microjets from the ultrasonic application. (Image courtesy of Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications.)
First, bubbles form in the liquid, continuously growing until they reach a maximum size and collapse. Collapsing near a solid surface, liquid microjets form, moving at a speed greater than 500 meters per second. The result is a strong bond of ZnO NPs onto the surface of the materials.

Any fabric used will maintain its integrity since ZnO is colorless. Experiments have determined that the fabrics can withstand up to 65 wash cycles at 92°C and up to 100 wash cycles at 75°C—far beyond medical facility requirements—without losing their antibacterial properties.

Advantages of Anti-Bacterial Textiles

Sometimes patients enter the hospital for minor ailments and end up prolonging their stay because they acquire infections during their visits. Patients undergoing surgery are especially vulnerable to catching infection. As a result, what should be a brief visit to the hospital can become an extended hospital stay, or even worse, a fatality.

The main culprits for infection are highly resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria.

Infections claim the lives of approximately 14 million people worldwide every year, significantly affect medical costs by increasing hospital stays to eight days on average per affected patient and are responsible for hospital-related costs that in Europe alone are about USD $12 billion per year.

Even with the arduous efforts to sterilize hospitals thoroughly, bacteria thrive and spread. For example, in the case of catheters, bacteria can spread easily within their walls and lead to infection. Therefore, by coating the inside of the catheter with antibacterial NPs, infection can be prevented.

"The main advantage of the technology is that it can apply antibacterial properties to any kind of ready-made fabric; the treatment does not at all alter the fabric's color, and the entire process is extremely cost-effective," explained Professor Aharon Gedanken, who developed the technology at Bar-Ilan University in Isreal. "In a hospital setting, for example, our technology can be used for inserting antibacterial characteristics to staff uniforms, patients' pajamas, linens, blankets and curtains in order to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality and in parallel reduce hospitalization costs."

Lilac Mandeles, president at Nano Textile, stated, "After establishing proof of concept, we are now in the process of raising the necessary capital to begin operations. The potential for our antibacterial fabric technology reaches far beyond medical applications, as it is relevant to a variety of industries such as airplanes, trains and luxury cars in the transportation industry; babywear, sports clothing and undergarments in the clothing industry; restaurants and hotels in the entertainment and tourist industries.”

Hopefully, Nano Textile will soon have funding to implement improvements in hospital environments that can lower fatality rates and help make hospitals safer environments.

For more information, visit Nano Textile’s website.

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