The Israeli company Nano Textile has invented a technology capable of making any fabric capable of killing bacteria. The technology prevents bacteria growth on natural and synthetic fibers, which helps prevent the spread of infections acquired in hospitals and reduces cross-contamination between medical staff and patients.
Developed by Prof. Aharon Gedanken from the Department of Chemistry at Bar Ilan University in Israel and funded by about $17 million from the European Union’s FP7 program, the technology works by embedding zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles into the fabric. ZnO, which has antibacterial properties, is even capable of eradicating antibiotic resistant bacteria such as MRSA. ZnO particles are created inside a solution and transferred onto the fabric through a chemical reaction. The process is cost-effective because it changes the fabric’s appearance and still allows the fabric to withstand up to 65 wash cycles at 92 degrees Celsius, and up to 100 wash cycles at 75 degrees Celsius—much higher standards than what are required in medical facilities.
Patented in both the U.S. and Israel, the technology is still awaiting approval in Asia and Europe. The process of making the fabric is outlined in a new article published in the scientific journal Cellulose.
“The main advantages of the technology is that it can apply anti-bacterial properties to any kind of readymade fabric, the treatment does not at all alter the fabric’s color, and the entire process is extremely cost-effective,” said Prof. Aharon Gedanken, the Israeli business news outlet Globes reported. “In a hospital setting, for example, our technology can be used for inserting anti-bacterial characteristics to staff uniforms, patients’ pajamas, linen, blankets, and curtains, in order to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality and in parallel reduce hospitalization costs.”
“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,” said Nano Textile President Lilac Mandeles.