Did you know? Your cell phone is 10 times dirtier than toilet seats?
Yes, you read it correctly, our cell phones are 10X dirtier than our toilet seats. Let us see why-The human body is full of microbes. In fact, it is estimated to contain more microbial cells than human cells. Humans get infected by these microscopic organisms because they often come in contact with solid surfaces and surroundings that are prone to generate germs & transmit diseases.
What are Microbes?
‘Microbes’ are tiny living organisms with variable cellular structures. These microbes can be either unicellular, multicellular, or live-in cell clusters. Microbes are a group of microscopic organisms including bacteria, algae, fungi, viruses, parasites, etc. Their intrinsic nature of adaptability creates both damaged cell recovery opportunities and life-threatening health problems.
As per European Center for Disease Prevention and Control records, more than 4 million people acquire a Healthcare-Associated Infection (HCAI) each year, which results in 37,000 deaths.* There is an increase in the need to protect surfaces from germs and microbes. This is not only true for healthcare devices/surfaces, but the need is more widespread. These small microbes can cause the breakdown of various products over a period of time. In addition to degradation, they also cause staining & unwanted odor to plastic products. Adding the Antimicrobial Additives in polymers will help preserve the integrity of the product & extend its life expectancy.
What is an Antimicrobial Additive?
An antimicrobial additive is a solution that, inhibits and prevents the growth of microbes including bacteria, fungus, viruses and algae. These solutions can be used either as a surface coating or introduced into a polymer matrix (built-in, by using masterbatches). Once introduced into a polymer substrate/ medium, the antimicrobial additive will act as a protector and make a product more hygienic, minimizing the potential for cross-contamination and simultaneously helping in extending a product’s functional lifetime.
Silver - a Potent Antimicrobial
Various antimicrobial substances such as Triclosan, Chlorine, Bromine, Chitosan, Silver, etc. are used as Antimicrobial agents, but each active ingredient has its limitations. Most of them are reported to produce harmful effects on the immune system. Out of all these, Silver is known to be a very broad spectrum & safe Antimicrobial. Silver (known as Rajata in Ayurveda), is used in Ayurveda, 5000 years old Indian System of Medicines. People often prefer Copper as well as an antimicrobial agent. But the drawback of using Copper extensively in the system, is that Copper kills good bacteria also along with pathogens. The dominant market position of the Silver segment can be attributed to its high efficacy, non-toxic, long-lasting effect & durability.
Antimicrobial Market Size
If we talk about the exponential market size of an antimicrobial then, the last record of the global Antimicrobial Coating market size was valued at around USD 9 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13% from 2022 to 2030.*
Globally the market size of silver was valued at USD 792.1 million in 2014, expanding at a CAGR of 17.5% over the forecast period. Rising product demand from various industries including electronics, appliances, textiles, and medical is driving the market.
After COVID-19, as the world is more concerned and hygiene-conscious, records state that 9 out of 10 consumers are now searching for products containing a proven, certified, well tested and trusted antimicrobial technology.
MICROFIGHT - NICHEM’s Silver Based Antimicrobials
At NICHEM, we have successfully developed and commercialized Silver-based Antimicrobial Solutions for the last 7 to 8 years under our umbrella brand – MICROFIGHT. This development started with converting elemental silver into nano form with a 20-50 nm particle size. As we progressed, we worked on higher particle sizes of 80-150 nm due to the reported negative effect of nanosilver in the human system.
Our R&D team has created these Silver-based Antimicrobials additives that strengthen the biostatic & biocidal activity at low concentrations. They evaluate various combinations of Silver with antimicrobial actives like Copper and Zinc. As a result, these combinations impart excellent microbe controlling properties against viruses, bacteria, fungi & algae.
Let’s get some awareness about how these Silver ions function and act as the best antimicrobial additives.
Mechanism of Action of Silver Based Antimicrobials
Silver ions adhere to the cell wall & cytoplasmic membrane of microbial cells & disrupt the cell envelope. It further penetrates the nucleus & destroys the DNA thereby preventing cell multiplication. The adhered ions enhance the permeability of the cytoplasmic membrane & lead to disruption of the bacterial envelope. The respiratory enzymes are deactivated. Thus, the overall cell metabolism is affected, causing the microbial cell’s termination.
Unlike commercial silver coating products available in the market, we chose a combination route of killing the bacteria, virus or fungus. Along with working on the physiology of the bacteria or virus, we explored ways to eliminate them by Redox Potential Action (ORP Technology). This enhanced the potency of the antimicrobial to a great extent irrespective of the organism’s structure, hence leading to protecting the devices and surfaces more efficiently. (need to make this a little simple, too tech heavy)
NICHEM’s MICROFIGHT 006 Additive for Polymers
We used a combination of bi-controlling compounds, nano sized silver & titanium dioxide to develop a unique product – MICROFIGHT 006 ADDITIVE. The antibacterial mechanism of silver is known, but we went a step ahead to combine it with a photocatalytic active like titanium dioxide to enhance the activity multifold through oxidation-reduction reaction combined with metabolic deactivation. This combination creates hydroxyl free radicals which destroy all the biological molecules like bacteria, viruses or fungi, irrespective of their structure.
MICROFIGHT 006 is a one-stop solution for protecting polymer substrates against viruses, bacteria, fungi & algae.
It complies with several test standards, namely the JIS Z 2801:2010 (Antibacterial), ISO 21702 (Antiviral), ASTM G21 (Antifungal), ASTM G29 (Antialgal), 21 CFR-FDA (Food Safe) & EN71 Part 3-RoHS (Heavy Metals).
Applications of MICROFIGHT 006 Additive
Silver promises to offer good potential for future antimicrobials that have been shown to kill bacteria, fungi and certain viruses. Our MicroFight 006 Additive can be widely used in various applications such as Opaque & Semi-transparent, Molded, Extruded & Calendar components in ABS, Polystyrene & Polyolefins like Electronic Devices, Foam Sheets, Shower Curtains, Floor/bathroom Mats, Toilet Seats/Covers, Egg Trays, Car Interiors, Water Storage Tanks, Toothbrush Body/ Caps, Mobile panels, Pharma packaging, Cosmetic packaging, Toys, etc.
A longstanding player in Specialty Chemicals, ISO 9001:2015 Certified, providing niche solutions for over 25 years. Headed by – Senior Experts in the chemicals industry with a collective experience of over 100 years. Having core strength in Research & Development and Customization, with a focus on Eco-friendly, Non-toxic Products. You can find out more about NICHEM at http://nichem.solutions