Antibacterial, antiodour and antistatic technology for wool
An antibacterial garment featured at New Zealand Fashion Week 2010
A wide range of micro-organisms co-exist in a natural equilibrium with the human body and living environments. However, a rapid and uncontrolled multiplication of even non-pathogenic microbes can seriously compromise personal hygiene and health standards. Clothing can act as a carrier for microbial infection or odour generation and if it has poor antistatic properties it will attract dirt and dust, exacerbating the proliferation of micro-organisms. People are now increasingly looking for bioactive garments that resist microbe proliferation and remain fresh.
Various antibacterial agents such as triclosan and polyhydroxy biguanide hydrochloride have been investigated on wool, but none of them provide a permanent solution. Recent hype in the media regarding the effectiveness of nanosilver as a biocide is diminishing after a recent study highlighted possible toxicity issues
Quaternary ammonium compounds are effective and extremely safe antibacterial agents and moreover they also provide antistatic properties, but they cannot be bound to wool with existing methods.
AgResearch has recently developed a way to pre-treat wool so that subsequent treatment with a quaternary ammonium compound provides permanent antibacterial and antistatic properties. The AgResearch process does not adversely affect the soft handle of fabrics. Antibacterial wool garments featured in the AgResearch Runway show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2010.
AgResearch is seeking industry partners for the commercialisation of this technology.