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Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry

Authors:
19
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry
Sheila Shahidi1,* and Jakub Wiener2
1Department of Textile, Faculty of Engineering,
Islamic Azad University, Arak Branch, Arak,
2Department of Textile Chemistry, Faculty of Textile,
Technical University of Liberec, Liberec,
1Iran
2Czech Republic
1. Introduction
With the growing public health awareness of the pathogenic effects, malodors and stain
formations caused by microorganisms, there is an increasing need for antibacterial materials
in many application areas like medical devices, health care, hygienic application, water
purification systems, hospital, dental surgery equipment, textiles, food packaging, and
storage.(Shahidi et al, 2007)
The spread of HIV and hepatitis viruses by contact of contaminated materials has created
increased pressure for protection of personnel with functional clothing; also, all articles of
apparel and home textiles are susceptible to problems of hygiene in normal daily use, for
example, socks, sport wear and working clothes as well as mattresses, floor coverings, and
shoe linings. Textiles for outdoor use are constantly exposed to the influence of microbes
and bacteria. Application of natural antimicrobial agents on textiles dates back to antiquity,
when the ancient Egyptians used spices and herbs to preserve mummy warps. Textile
goods, especially those made from natural fibers, provide an excellent environment for
microorganisms to grow, because of their large surface area and ability to retain moisture.
Most textile materials currently used in hospitals and hotels are conductive to cross infection
or transmission of diseases caused by microorganisms. Practically every class of chemical
compound has been utilized to impart antibacterial activity to textiles. Two different aspects
of antimicrobial protection provided by chemical finishes can be distinguished. The first is
the protection of the textile user against pathogenic or odour causing microorganisms
(hygiene finishes). The second aspect is the protection of the textile itself from damage
caused by mould, mildew or rot producing microorganisms. Bacteria are not as damaging to
fibres, but can produce some fibre damage, unpleasant odours and a slick, slimy feel. Often,
fungi and bacteria are both present on the fabric in a symbiotic relationship. (Heywood,
2003; Bellini, 2001)
Substances added to fibres, such as lubricants, antistatics, natural-based auxiliaries (for
example size, thickener and hand modifiers) and dirt provide a food source for
* Corresponding Author
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388
microorganisms. Synthetic fibres are not totally immune to microorganisms, for example
polyurethane fibres and coatings can be damaged. Of course, because of evolution, natural
fibres are more easily attacked. Wool is more likely to suffer bacterial attack than cotton, and
cotton is more likely than wool to be attacked by fungi.
2. Antimicrobial treatments of textile
There are various chemical and physical possibilities that can be considered in the
production of antimicrobial fabrics. In practice, the antimicrobial effect is obtained through
the application of specific chemical products during the finishing stage, or through the
incorporation of these substances into chemical fibres during the spinning process.
These possibilities are:
- The addition of bactericidal substances to the spinning solution, prior to the extrusion
stage. substances like Triclosan (2,4,4-hydrophenyl trichloro (II) ether), a member of the
antiseptic and disinfectant family.
- A different method for the production of antimicrobial and fungicidal fibres has been
adopted by an English company. Its "Stayfresh" fibres exploit the properties of silver
and silica, both of which, on coming into contact with water or humidity, arrest the
growth of bacterial populations in carpets, fabrics, furniture, mattresses and bed linen,
by cutting off a source of their nutrition. As well as having antimicrobial and fungicidal
properties, these fibres are safe, non toxic and inorganic because, they guarantee total
mildew and fungus control, preventing the propagation of bacteria such as Escherichia
coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
- Modification through grafting or other chemical reactions. It is in this sector, that the
Institut Textile de France in Ecully has developed the so-called bio textiles. In these
products, the chains of molecules containing antiseptic substances are grafted onto the
base polymers of the raw fabric. The base polymers are activated by electronic rays and,
in the course of the process, they are refracted in given positions, into which is inserted
the first graft molecule. The chains of polymers, which grow laterally from the first
molecule, confer on the fabric its bactericidal properties. In the event of direct contact,
these fabrics act very rapidly against bacteria and their bactericidal property remains
intact even after washing.
- Fibre blends.
- Textile finishing treatments with specific active principles. Following heat treatment
(drying, condensation), these substances, being incorporated into polymeric and
resinogenic finishing products, become fixed to the structure of the textile.
- Plasma coating (sputtering)( Schindler and Houser, 2004; Heywood, 2003)
3. Antimicrobial finishing agents
Man has adopted antimicrobial substances since ancient times, a fact that is demonstrated
by their use in Egyptian mummies and in similar applications in other cultures. In this
regard, the protection and preservation of fabrics, too, have long fulfilled a role of the
utmost importance. The need to protect and preserve is still fundamental in many textile
applications today .Antimicrobials are protective agents that, being bacteriostatic,
bactericidal, fungistatic and fungicidal, also offer special protection against the various
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry 389
forms of textile rotting. Here it is focused on some of important antibacterial agents that are
used in textile finishing.
3.1 Quaternary ammonium
There are numerous antimicrobials suitable for immobilization on polymer surfaces.
Quaternary ammonium compounds seem attractive because their target is primarily the
microbial membrane and they accumulate in the cell driven by the membrane potential. To
maximize efficiency, quaternary ammonium compound is used as monomeric link in the
polymeric leash and poly(4- vinylpyridine) (PVP) is usually selected as the carrying
polymer. Tiller et al. showed that the surfaces of commercial polymers treated with N-
alkylated PVP groups were lethal on contact to both Gram-positive and Gram-negative
bacteria, and it was also shown that N-alkyl chain of six carbon units in length was the most
effective. In recent years, trialkyl ammonium chlorides have been reported to possess
germicidal effect in dilute aqueous solutions. (Yao et al, ,2008)
Kumar et al showed that mutual radiation grafting of vinylbenzyltrimethylammonium
chloride (VBT ) onto cotton cellulose is an effective method to incorporate anti-bacterial
property onto the cotton cellulose matrix.(Kumar et al, 2005) Shao et al showed that, a novel
quaternary ammonium salt, which contains both perfluoroalkyl group and diallyl groups,
should be suitable a finishing agent for providing the fabrics with barriers against
microorganisms, water, oil, soil and blood. Moreover, the introduction of diallyl groups into
the quaternary ammonium salt not only can enhance the antimicrobial activity, but also
extend its application fields. It can be applied in two categories of antimicrobial finishes: one
category is part of the fiber-forming process and the other category is the one incorporated
in the finishing process. It can also be used as a perfluoroalkyl-containing monomer in the
polymer field, which is a convenient method incorporating perfluoroalkyl chain in the
polymer. (Shao et al, 2003)
3.2 Triclosan
Triclosan (2,4,4-hydrophenyl trichloro (II) ether), a member of the antiseptic and disinfectant
family. Triclosan is a halogen containing derivative of phenol, and is used in cosmetics and
toothpastes. It has a wide range of action against gram-negative and gram positive bacteria.
This compound, thanks to the presence of the acaricide benzyl benzoate, also offers
protection against mites and is used in acaricide (spray or powder) formulas, as well as in a
solution (25% concentration) for the treatment of scabies. This compound is non toxic.
Benzyl benzoate is an acaricide that acts, chemically, directly on the mites.
Due to its antibacterial properties, triclosan has found widespread use in a variety of
consumer products including toothpastes, deodorants, soaps, polymers and fibers. (Allmyr
et al, 2006)
3.3 Metallic salts
Numerous chemicals have been used to improve the antimicrobial activity of cotton textiles.
Many heavy metals are toxic to microbes at very low concentrations either in the free state
or in compounds. They kill microbes by binding to intracellular proteins and inactivating
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390
them.( Shahidi et al, 2010) Although some other metals, such as copper, zinc and cobalt,
have attracted attention as effective antimicrobial agents for textiles, silver is by far the most
widely used in general textiles as well as in wound dressings. It has a MIC value of 0.05– 0.1
mg/l against E. coli.
Some concerns have been expressed about the development of bacterial resistance to silver.
For synthetic fibers, silver particles can be incorporated into the polymer before extrusion or
before nanofiber formation using electro spinning.
The treatment of natural fibers with metals can only be undertaken at the finishing stage
and various strategies have been devised to enhance the uptake and durability. Cotton has
been pretreated with succinic acid anhydride, which acted as ligand for metal ions to
enhance the subsequent adsorption of metallic salts (Ag+ and Cu2+) and to provide very
effective antibacterial activity.
Preparation of nano-sized metals and metal oxides, mainly silver (Ag), titanium dioxide
(TiO2), zinc oxide (ZnO) and cooper II oxide (CuO) has enabled the development of a new
generation of biocides.
Among these antimicrobial agents, silver has been widely used in many fields because it
shows strong biocidal effects on many pathogenic bacteria. In addition, nanosized inorganic
particles possess high surface area/volume ratio and display unique physical and chemical
properties. Accordingly, the immobilization of silver nanoparticles on various fibers has
recently attracted a great deal of attention. Concerning the studies of fiber/silver
nanocomposites, most researches have been interest in preparations of ultrafine fiber
containing silver nanoparticles. These developments are important and contribute greatly to
the textile industry. However, the conventional cotton microfibers are still highly popular in
textile markets. Surface modification of cotton microfibers with silver nanoparticles can
increase both the price and purpose of the fibers. (Chen & Li Chiang, 2008)
The antimicrobial properties of the silver ion Ag+ have been exploited for a long time in the
biomedical field. The significant feature of the silver ion is its broad-spectrum antimicrobial
property, which is particularly significant for the polymicrobial colonization associated with
biomaterial related infections. The general finding is that bacteria show a low propensity to
develop resistance to silver-based products, and therefore both metallic and ionic silver
have been incorporated into several biomaterials such as polyurethane, hydroxyapatite
(HA) and bioactive glasses.
Silver containing products are also interesting materials for wound repair applications.
When metallic silver reacts with moisture on the skin surface or with wound fluids, silver
ions are released, damaging bacterial RNA and DNA, thus inhibiting replication. Sustained
silver release products have a bactericidal action and manage wound exudates and odour.
In particular, Lansdown et al. have shown that silver aids healing in the sterile skin wound
in rat models: silver treatment appeared to reduce the inflammatory and granulation tissue
phases of healing and induce epidermal repair. (Blaker et al, 2004; Potiyaraj et al, 2007;
Bingshe et al, 2007; Chen & Schluesener et al, 2008; Montazer et al, 2012; Ibrahim et al, 2012)
The results of the counting test showed more reduction of survival of bacteria in the case of
loading samples with metal salts.
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry 391
The result of counting test is shown in Figure 1. As it can be seen, no colony of bacteria was
found in agar culture for Ag and Cu loaded samples. It means that the bacteria were killed
by silver and copper loading of cotton fabric and causes 100 % reduction of bacterial growth.
The interaction between silver and copper ions with bacteria can change the metabolic
activity of bacteria and eventually causes the death. Also the results related to Nickel and
Cobalt loaded samples shown a few amounts of bacteria spread over the agar plate.
However, in case of Ti, Sn and Sb loading, it is seen that, more survival bacteria remain and
growth in agar culture. The counting test results related to Sb-loaded samples as compared
with Sn and Ti, showed better result, and caused fewer bacteria to growth. Although the
amount of survival bacteria for Sn-loaded sample as compared with Ti-loaded one are less.
In this research work no ultraviolet light were used before bacteria counting test for Ti-
loaded sample and all the samples were analyzed in same condition without UV light. So
the results related to bacterial counting test for Ti loaded sample shows moderate reduction
percentage of bacteria however by using proper UV light, more reduction of bacterial
colonies can be maintained.
It can be concluded that, silver and copper salts causes killing of bacteria and percentage
reduction of bacteria reach to 100%. It means that, no bacteria can spread over the agar plate.
Also the results of antibacterial efficiency for Cu, Ni and Co loaded samples are very good.
And the antibacterial activity for Sn and Ti is moderate as compared with the mentioned
elements, However better antibacterial efficiency were achieved for Sb treated sample as
compared with Ti and Sn. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is the best known and most
widely used tool for morphological analyses. SEM micrographs of untreated cotton fabric
and metal salt loaded samples are shown in Figure 2. As shown, some new particles were
created on the surface of treated cotton fabrics that did not exist on the surface of untreated
one. As it is seen, the particles size appears on the surface of Sb and Sn loaded samples are
larger than the others but it does not mean that large size of these particles made our
samples with more antibacterial efficiency. (Ghoranneviss et al, 2012)
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalysts, as alternative materials to degrade organic
substances for applications, have attracted much attention since the discovery of photo-
induced water cleavage on TiO2 electrodes by Fujishima and Honda in the early 1970s.
When TiO2 is exposed to ultraviolet light (λ<400 nm), holes (hvb+ ) and excited electrons
(ecb) are generated. The hole is capable of oxidizing water or hydroxide anions into
hydroxyl radicals (UOH). UOH is known to be powerful, indiscriminate oxidizing agents to
degrade a wide range of organic pollutants, including aromatics and aliphatics, dyes,
pesticides and herbicides. In 1985, Matsunaga et al. reported the antibacterial properties of
TiO2 for the first time, which attributed to the high redox potential of the surface species,
affording non-selective oxidation of bacteria. Since then, TiO2, as the photo-induced
antibacterial agent, has attracted increasing interest. With high photo-reactivity, cheapness,
non-toxicity and chemical stability, TiO2 is promising for eliminating microorganisms in
self-cleaning and self-sterilizing materials. Photo-excited charge carriers, i.e. electrons and
holes, may recombine within nanoseconds. The antibacterial efficiency is determined by the
competition between the recombination of charge carriers and the transfer of those to the
bacteria. A wide range of transition metal ions has been reported to be used as electron
acceptor to decrease the e–h+ recombination in the research of photodegradation towards
organic substance. Whereas, noble metal, such as Ag, was explored most as antibacterial
effect is concerned. (Zhang et al, 2008; Robertson et al, 2005; Matsunaga et al, 1985; Liu et al,
2008 ; Hashemikia et al, 2012)
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392
Fig. 1. The bacterial counting test for comparing the antibacterial activity of metallic loaded
cotton
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry 393
Fig. 2. The SEM images of metallic loaded cotton
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394
The ZnO nanoparticles have been measured to possess probable biological applications as
efficient antimicrobial agents, drug carriers, bioimaging probes and possessing cytotoxic
behavior for the treatment of cancer. Being a semiconducting material, the band gap
between conduction and valance electrons plays a vital role in the generation of reactive
oxygen species (ROS), which bring about conformational changes/oxidant injury to the
surface of the microorganism membrane. The ZnO nanoparticles, which have positive zeta
potential, easily rupture the cell membrane of Escherichia coli (gram negative) on contact
and release Zn2+ ions, which cause lysosomal and mitochondrial damages. Finally, it is
leading to the death of bacterial cells.
The surface defects and morphological changes of ZnO nanoparticles do not play a
significant role in the antibacterial activity. That the antibacterial activity depends on the
particle size, with an increase in antibacterial activity observed for decreasing size of
nanoparticles.
Recently the Krishna Raghupathi et al also reported the properties of antibacterial activity
against particles size. This report described the antibacterial activity of ZnO nanoparticles in
the range from 212 nm to 12 nm particle size. The antibacterial activity of ZnO nanoparticles
is inversely proportional to the size of the nanoparticles. (Krishna Raghupathi et al, 2011;
Selvam & Sundrarajan et al, 2012)
3.3.1 Plasma sputtering
However, conventional finishing techniques applied to textiles (dyeing, stain repellence,
flame retardance, antibacterial treatments) generally use wet-chemical process steps and
produce a lot of wastewater. Plasma treatment, on the other hand, is a dry and eco-friendly
technology, which offers an attractive alternative to add new functionalities such as water
repellence, long-term hydrophilicity, mechanical, electrical and antibacterial properties as
well as biocompatibility due to the nano-scaled modification on textiles and fiber. Moreover,
the bulk properties as well as the touch of the textiles remain unaffected.( Shahidi et al, 2010)
In recent years, innovative aspects on the use of coated fabrics have been revealed. Coatings
can be applied onto fabrics thus influencing their light reflectivity, electrical conductivity,
thermal insulation or for serving decorative purposes. Anti-microbial properties of fabrics
are of elevated importance if they are exposed to enhanced biological activity such as in
close contact to soil or in a humid environment. In the investigations presented here, the
antimicrobial effectiveness of thin films is assessed and the effort of additional finishing for
sufficient material protection is determined.
In recent years, physical vapor deposition (PVD) has been applied to modify textile
materials due to its inherent merits, such as environmental friendly, various functions and
solvent-free process. Sputter coating is one of the most commonly used techniques in PVD,
which has been widely used in glass, ceramic and micro-electronic industries.
Sputter coating produces very thin metallic or ceramic coatings on to a wide range of
substrates, which can be either metallic or non-metallic in different forms. Sputter coating
has also been used to coat textile materials for technical applications. The sputtered atoms
have a high energy and when they impinge on any surface, they form a surface coating. The
adhesion between the coated layer and the substrate plays a very important role in various
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry 395
applications of the sputter coated materials.( Scholz et al, 2005; Wei et al, 2008; Hegemann et
al, 2007; Yuranova et al, 2003 ; Brunon et al, 2011 ; Yuranova et al, 2003)
The advantages of sputtering are the following: simple process, time saving, environmental
friendly, and a resulting coating with superior adhesion to substrates.
Deposition of copper on the surface of cotton samples was performed in DC magnetron
sputtering, made by Plasma Physics Research Center (Tehran, Iran), by using the setup
schematically presented in Figure 3. Copper post cathode was used; also as it can be seen
that samples were placed on the anode, and exposed to argon plasma in a cylindrical glass
tube. The chamber was evacuated to a pressure of 10-5 Torr, using rotary and diffusion
pumps, and then argon gas was introduced into the chamber up to a pressure of 0.05 Torr.
Voltage was kept at 950 V and the discharge current was about 220 mA.
Fig. 3. The schematic view of Plasma sputtering system
Copper particles were deposited on the surface of cotton samples, and the antibacterial has
been developed, through incorporation of copper particles on fabric surfaces. The
antibacterial properties of the fabrics were connected with the presence of copper on their
surface. After plasma treatment, the physical and chemical properties of the fabrics have
been examined by surface analysis methods and textile technology tests. Also the
antibacterial efficiency was determined by the Halo method.
The agar culture medium is transparent, when the bacterium is inhibited from growth, a
transparent area in the form of a halo around the fabric will be observed.
There is no halo observed for untreated cotton fabric. This control test shows that the
original cotton fabric does not have any antibacterial properties. Figure 4 illustrate the test
results for the untreated and cotton-coated fabric for 30 seconds with S. aureus. (Shahidi et
al, 2007; Ghoranneviss et al, 2011)
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396
Fig. 4. The inhibition zone of S.aureus around untreated and copper coated cotton.
In the other research work, wool samples have been sputtered by silver particles. The
antibacterial counting test was used and the results are shown in Figure 5-8. Both E.coli and
S.aureus were used as a bacterial medium. As it is seen, in case of untreated samples, the
bacterial colonies cover the completely the agar plate. But after Ag sputtering less amount of
bacteria growth in agar plate. However this effect is more significant in case of using
s.aureus as bacteria. (Shahidi et al, 2007; Ghoranneviss et al, 2011)
Fig. 5. The bacterial counting test for untreated wool with E. coli
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry 397
Fig. 6. The bacterial counting test for untreated wool with S.aureus
Fig. 7. The bacterial counting test for silver coated wool with E.Coli
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Fig. 8. The bacterila counting test for silver coated wool with S.aureus
3.3.2 Chitosan
Chitosan [poly-_(1-4)-d-glucosamine], a cationic polysaccharide, is obtained by alkaline
deacetylation of chitin, the principal exoskeletal component in crustaceans. As the
combination of properties of chitosan such as water binding capacity, fat binding capacity,
bioactivity, biodegradability, nontoxicity, biocompatibility, acceleration of wound healing
and antifungal activity, chitosan and its modified analogs have shown many applications in
medicine, cosmetics, agriculture, biochemical separation systems, biomaterials and drug
controlled release systems. There are also many studies showing that chitin and chitosan
accelerated wound healing in many clinical cases and some types of chitin remedies have
already been marketed in Japan. Chitin and chitosan was used in the forms of filament,
powder, granule, sponge, and composite with cotton or polyester in most studies. (Yang &
Lin, 2004)
Chitosan obtained from the shells of crabs, shrimps and other crustaceans, chitosan is a non-
toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible natural polymer, and has long been used as a
biopolymer and natural material in the pharmaceutical, medical, papermaking and food
processing industries. Because of its polycationic nature, chitosan possesses a good
antibacterial property against various bacteria and fungi through ionic interaction at a cell
surface, which eventually kills the cell. Previous studies have shown that its antimicrobial
activity is influenced by molecular weight (Mw), degree of deacetylation, temperature, pH
and cations in solution. Because chitosan is one of the safest and most effective antibacterial
agents, it has been widely applied for cotton and other textile antibacterial finishes. (Ye et al,
2005)
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry
399
It comprises copolymers of glucosamine and N-acetyl glucosamine and has a combination
of many unique properties, such as non-toxicity, biocompatibility and biodegradability.
Chitosan has got wide application in textile dyeing and finishing as a substitute for the
various chemicals used in textile processing . It has been used as a pretreatment agent in
dyeing of cotton, in textile printing, wool dyeing and shrink proofing and in durable press
finish. (Gupta & Haile, 2007; Knill et al, 2004; Fan et al, 2006)
It is known that chitosan derivatives with quaternary ammonium groups possess high
efficacy against bacteria and fungi. It is now widely accepted that the target site of these
cationic polymers is the cytoplasmic membrane of bacterial cells. (Ignatova et al, 2007;
Ignatova et al, 2006)
Chitosan-based core-shell particle, with chitosan as the shell and a soft polymer as the core,
has been designed as a novel antibacterial coating for textiles by Ye et al. The core-shell
particles were synthesized via a graft copolymerization of n-butyl acrylate from chitosan in
aqueous solution. Properties of the particles, including composition, particle size and
distribution, surface charge as well as morphology, were characterized. The treatment of
cotton with poly(n-butyl acrylate) (PBA)-chitosan particles confers the fabric with excellent
antibacterial property. It is well recognized that chitosan has good antimicrobial activity,
especially against the growth of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Figure 9 shows the result
of treated and untreated specimens. As expected, the untreated fabric gave a negligible
antibacterial activity of less than 5% while all finished cotton showed over 99% bacterial
reduction.
Thus chemical modification of the chitosan through the graft copolymerization does not
affect its antimicrobial property. (Ye et al, 2005) Also the TEM images of core-shell particles
are shown in Figure 10.
Fig. 9. Comparison of bacterial reduction before and after coating cotton fabrics with
chitosan-PBA particles or chitosan solution (after 1 h shaking).
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400
Fig. 10. TEM micrographs of chitosan-PBA particles stained for an appropriate period with
2% PTA solution. (A) Well-defined core-shell particles that consist of PBA cores and
chitosan shells; (B) soft PBA-chitosan particles, which deform easily when in contact with
each other.
Several mechanisms were proposed for the antimicrobial activity by chitosan:
1. Polycationic structure of chitosan which can be expected to interact with the
predominantly anionic components (lipopoly-saccharides and proteins of
microorganism surface) resulting in changes in permeability which causes death of the
cell by inducing leakage of intracellular components.
2. The chitosan on the surface of the cell can form a polymer membrane which prevents
nutrients from entering the cell.
3. The chitosan of lower molecular weight enters the cell, binding to DNA and inhibits
RNA and protein synthesis.
4. Since chitosan could adsorb the electronegative substance in the cell and flocculate
them, it disturbs the physiological activities of the microorganism leading to death of
the cells. (El-tahlawy et al, 2005)
3.3.3 Cyclodextrin
Cyclodextrins are toroidal-shaped cyclic oligosaccharides with a hydrophilic outer surface
and an internal hydrophobic hollow interior, which can entrap a vast number of lipophilic
compounds into their hydrophobic cavity, depending on their size and molecular structure.
The remarkable ability of cyclodextrins to include hydrophobic compounds has been
exploited in several fields, spanning from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics, from food
manufacturing to commodity
In textile field, a novel functional surface treatment of cotton based on the permanent
fixation of cyclodextrin on fabric is receiving increased attention. Some literatures have
demonstrated that cyclodextrin fixed to cotton did not affect the hydrophilic properties of
cellulose and the immobilized cavities of cyclodextrins did not lose their complexing power
to form inclusion complexes with other molecules. (Wang & Cai, 2008)
CDs and their derivatives have been used in the textile domain since the early 1980s. The
permanent binding of CDs onto textile fibers offers the advantage that the inclusive
properties of CDs towards bioactive molecules become intrinsic to the modified fibers.( El
Ghoul et al, 2008)
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry
401
4. Mechanisms of antimicrobial finishes
Despite the long list of requirements, a variety of chemical finishes have been used to produce
textiles with demonstrable antimicrobial properties. These products can be divided into two
types based on the mode of attack on microbes. One type consists of chemicals that can be
considered to operate by a controlled-release mechanism. The antimicrobial is slowly released
from a reservoir either on the fabric surface or in the interior of the fibre. This ‘leaching’ type of
antimicrobial can be very effective against microbes on the fibre surface or in the surrounding
environment. However, eventually the reservoir will be depleted and the finish will no longer
be effective. In addition, the antimicrobial that is released to the environment may interfere
with other desirable microbes, such as those present in waste treatment facilities. The second
type of antimicrobial finish consists of molecules that are chemically bound to fibre surfaces.
These products can control only those microbes that are present on the fibre surface, not in the
surrounding environment. ‘Bound’ antimicrobials, because of their attachment to the fibre, can
potentially be abraded away or become deactivated and lose long term durability.
Antimicrobial finishes that control the growth and spread of microbes are more properly
called biostats, i.e. bacteriostats, fungistats. Products that actually kill microbes are biocides, i.e.
bacteriocides, fungicides. This distinction is important when dealing with governmental
regulations, since biocides are strongly controlled.
Fig. 11. Controlled release antimicrobials
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402
Textiles with biostatic properties, however, are subject to fewer regulations. The actual
mechanisms by which antimicrobial finishes control microbial growth are extremely varied,
ranging from preventing cell reproduction, blocking of enzymes, reaction with the cell
membrane (for example with silver ions) to the destruction of the cell walls and poisoning
the cell from within. In Figure 11 and 12 the chemical structures of some of antimicrobial
agents are shown.
Fig. 12. Bound antimicrobials
5. Practical biocides
It is fairly easy to list the desirable properties of an ‘ideal’ biocide:
1. wide spectrum of effectiveness against both bacteria and fungi;
2. durable for the life of the product;
3. non-toxic to humans at concentrations used – safe to handle and use;
4. colourless and odourless;
5. reasonable cost, and effective at low concentrations;
6. resistant to leaching, weathering and sunlight;
7. no adverse effect on handle or other physical properties of the fabric;
8. compatible with water-repellent and flame-retardant finishes, dyes and other textile
chemicals;
9. does not accelerate or catalyse other degenerative processes;
10. applicable using standard textile machinery;
11. withstands processing conditions and temperatures;
12. no environmental problems.
6. Evaluation of antimicrobial finishes
The AATCC Technical Manual12 has a number of test methods that are useful for
evaluating antimicrobial finishes on textiles. These tests are summarised in Table 1. Two
types of antimicrobial tests are dominant, the agar-based zone of inhibition tests and the
bacteria counting tests. The relatively new ISO/DIS 20645 and the corresponding EN ISO
Antibacterial Agents in Textile Industry 403
20645 are based on the agar diffusion test and ISO 11721 is a burial test (part 1 for the
determination of an antimicrobial finish and part 2 for the determination of the long-term
resistance). The main difficulties of these tests are mostly poor reproducibility of the test
results and often insufficient correlation between laboratory results and actual conditions in
the field. Careful attention to detail and trained laboratory personnel are essential for
accurate and repeatable results from these methods.( Schindler & Hauser, 2004)
A more rapid test method, developed by the British Textile Technology Group in the late
1980s, is based on adenosine triphosphate (ATP) luminescence. The growth of
microorganisms is assessed by firefly bioluminescent detection and ATP analysis.3
AATCC test method Comments
Antibacterial activity of textile
materials: parallel streak method; test method
147(agar plate test)
Rapid qualitative method for determining
antibacterial activity of treated textile materials
against
both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
Treated material is placed in nutrient agar that is
streaked with test bacteria. Bacterial growth is
determined visually after incubation. Antibacterial
activity is demonstrated by zones of inhibition on
and
around the textile.
Antibacterial finishes on textile materials,
assessment of: test method 100
Quantitative method for determining the degree of
antimicrobial activity of treated textiles. The
amount
of bacterial growth in inoculated and incubated
textiles is determined through serial dilutions and
subsequent inoculations of sterile agar. Gram
positive
and Gram-ne
g
ative bacteria are used.
Antifungal activity, assessment on textile
materials: mildew and rot resistance of textiles;
test method 30
Four methods for determining the antifungal
assessment on textile properties of treated textiles.
One method involves
testing fabric properties after burial in soil that
contains fungi. In a second method, cellulose fabric
is
textiles; exposed to Chaetomium globosum in an agar
plate and the subsequent growth visually
determined. The third method exposes textiles to
Aspergillus niger in
an agar plate and visually determines any fungal
growth. The fourth method uses a humidity jar to
expose textiles to mixture of fungi spores. Any
g
rowth on the textile is visuall
y
determined.
Antimicrobial activity assessment of carpets; test
method 174
Methods are given for the qualitative and
quantitative
determination of antibacterial activity and the
qualitative evaluation of antifungal properties of
carpet samples using procedures and materials
similar to those in the above test methods.
Table 1. Comparison between different AATCC test methods
Antimicrobial Agents
404
7. The future
An anti-microbial finish for textiles involving skin contact will need additional safety data
concerning this aspect. For manufacturers with biocides with relatively low volumes the
cost of generating the necessary data may make ongoing production uneconomical. Acute
toxicity data is relatively cheap to generate but sub-acute and other long-term studies are
very expensive. It is therefore likely that the number of biocides being produced in the
future will diminish and bringing new products to market will be even more expensive. A
possible future development would be the micro-encapsulation of biocides. The potential is
considerable if the correct performance and economics can be achieved. Benefits could
include better durability and greater safety. The search for more cost-effective testing
methods will continue.
Overall the need for anti-microbial and hygiene finishes looks set to continue for the
foreseeable future. Improving performance and cost-effectiveness, while meeting
environmental and toxicity requirements, will continue to challenge those working in this
field. (Heywood, 2003)
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The role of the textile finisher has become increasingly demanding, and now requires a careful balance between the compatibility of different finishing products and treatments and the application processes used to provide textiles with desirable properties. In one comprehensive book, Chemical finishing of textiles details the fundamentals of final chemical finishing, covering the range of effects that result from the interplay between chemical structures and finishing products. After an introductory chapter covering the importance of chemical finishing, the following chapters focus on particular finishing techniques, from softening, easy-care and permanent press, non-slip and soil-release, to flame-retardant, antistatic and antimicrobial. Within each chapter, sections include an introduction, mechanisms, chemistries, applications, evaluations and troubleshooting. The book concludes with a chapter on the future trends in chemical finishing. Chemical finishing of textiles is an essential reference for all academic and industrial textile chemists and for those studying textile education programmes. • Discusses the advantages and disadvantages of every important type of chemical finish • Combines technical understanding and practical experience concisely • Essential tool to assist in the demanding challenge of chemical finishing for textiles.
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This study introduces a new green method synthesis of silver nanoparticles on the cotton fabric surface through using Tollens’ reagent. In this approach, silver nitrate (AgNO3) was transformed to Ag2O followed by an aqueous solution with ammonia; subsequently, silver nanoparticles were synthesized on the cotton fabric directly. The main objective of this research was to successfully employ the reducing and stabilizing features of cellulose to synthesize nano silver. Accordingly, the antibacterial efficiency was evaluated against two common pathogenic bacteria: S. aureus and E. coli. Additionally, the color variation on the cotton fabric and durability of the antibacterial properties on the fabric were assessed and reported. The Raman spectra, CHN elemental analysis, SEM images, XRD patterns, and EDS spectrum were employed to characterize the treated cotton fabrics. The treated fabrics demonstrated an excellent antibacterial activity against the mentioned bacteria. A slight decrease in the antibacterial feature of the cotton fabrics was observed after successive washings. However, an efficient antibacterial activity remained on the fabrics.