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Antimicrobial wool, polyester and a wool/polyester blend created by silver particles embedded in a silica matrix

Klemenčič, Danijela, Tomšič, Brigita, Kovač, Franci, Žerjav, Metka, Simončič, Andrej, Simončič, Barbara
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2013 v.111 pp. 517-522
Aspergillus niger, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, anti-infective properties, bacteria, colloids, fabrics, fungi, lint cotton, mass spectrometry, polyesters, silica, silver, silver chloride, silver nitrate, sodium chloride, thiols, wool
A two-step antimicrobial finishing procedure was applied to wool (WO) and polyester (PES) fabrics and a WO/PES fabric blend, in which the pad-dry-cure method was performed to create a functional silica matrix through the application of an inorganic–organic hybrid sol–gel precursor (RB) followed by the in situ synthesis of AgCl particles on the RB-treated fibres using 0.10 and 0.50mM AgNO3 and NaCl. The bulk concentration of Ag on the cotton fibres was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. The antimicrobial activity was determined for the bacteria Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, and the fungus Aspergillus niger. The results showed that the highest concentration of the adsorbed Ag compound particles was on the WO samples followed by the WO/PES and PES samples. The antimicrobial activity of the finished fabric samples strongly depended not only on the amount of adsorbed Ag but also on the properties of the fabric samples. Whereas Ag biocidal activity was generated for the finished PES samples at Ag particle concentrations of less than 10mg/kg, the 34-times higher Ag particle concentration on the WO samples was insufficient to impart satisfactory antimicrobial activity because Ag chemically binds to the thiol groups on wool. The presence of wool fibres in WO/PES samples decreased the antimicrobial protection of the fabric blend compared with that of the PES fabric. A lethal concentration of adsorbed Ag compound particles for bacteria and fungi was produced only through the treatment of the WO and WO/PES samples with 0.5mM AgNO3.