Silver nanoparticles have been used for some time in a wide selection of antimicrobial materials. On one hand, they are known to be very effective killers of bacteria, however, there are concerns that constant exposure to these nanoparticles could allow bacteria to build up a resistance to them.
Always on the lookout for environmentally friendly alternatives, we should all like to take into consideration the environmental effects of products. In reference to nanoparticles currently used for antibacterial agents, many are concerned about what happens once they are shed – which can happen during the simple act of washing the material.
Thanks to the folks at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, there may be a new antibacterial material available soon. They have officially announced they have developed a new type of antibacterial material, and it is supposed to be free of the issues other antibacterial agents pose, antibiotic resistance and bacteria resistance.
KTH is not giving away exactly what the material is made of, but what they have confirmed is that is made up of cellulose fibers embedded within an antibacterial polymer, which kills bacteria. “We have managed to find an antibacterial polymer that attaches stably to cellulose and therefore cannot be released into the environment,” says Josefin Illergård, a chemistry researcher at KTH. This is great news with reference to the environment – cellulose is the most common organic substance in nature.
Illergård believes their material will be used for cleaning clothes, sanitation for hospitals and even for water purification. “What if water could be purified in an environmentally friendly manner by our material, instead of just strainers?” she asks. “Many lives would be saved, and the material could be placed directly on the fire and burned after use.”