An antimicrobial additive is a substance you incorporate into a material or product to inhibit the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and algae. These additives reduce the opportunity for microbial growth on surfaces and associated issues, including unpleasant odors and product degradation.
Antimicrobial additives work by disrupting critical cellular processes or structures. They can interfere with cell membranes, inhibit enzyme activity and disrupt DNA replication in microbes, impacting their ability to survive and multiply.
These additives are commonly used in a wide range of products and materials, including plastics, textiles, paints, coatings, adhesives, and healthcare products. By incorporating antimicrobial additives into these materials, manufacturers add an extra element of hygiene protection to their products. Combined with existing cleaning protocols, they effectively disrupt microbial growth, resulting in cleaner and more hygienic environments.
Many people use the terms antimicrobial additive and antibacterial additive interchangeably. However, there is a subtle but important distinction.
Antimicrobial additives cover a broader spectrum of target organisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and algae. On the other hand, antibacterial additives specifically focus on bacteria.
We utilize antimicrobial additives in a variety of applications. As businesses and consumers begin to recognize the value of integrating antimicrobials into products, applications are diversifying rapidly. Here, we detail four current uses to illustrate antimicrobials’ versatility.
Antimicrobial additives are utilized in the food industry to enhance environmental hygiene, complimenting existing HACCP systems or to the exterior of food packs to reduce microbial contamination.
Antimicrobial additives are regularly incorporated into textiles and fabrics. They are particularly popular in sportswear, outdoor equipment, and healthcare PPE, though they are also widespread in fashion apparel. By preventing bacterial growth, antimicrobials play a role in odor elimination and enable consumers to wash their clothes less frequently, reducing energy and water consumption and creating greater sustainability.
Antimicrobial additives are applied to consumer products such as electronics, kitchen goods, and household appliances. They are especially common in products we have close physical interactions with, such as headphones and mobile phones, as well as products used in hygiene-critical environments, like kitchen thermometers or blenders.
It may seem as though the benefits associated with antimicrobials are limited to improved hygiene and a lower chance of spreading illness. This is not the case. Microbes play a role in many processes that cause problems for manufacturers and consumers. Consequently, antimicrobials can help:
Antimicrobial additives help extend the lifespan of products and materials by preventing degradation caused by microbial growth. Microorganisms can speed up material breakdown and deterioration, forcing users to dispose of or replace products sooner. By inhibiting the growth of microbes, antimicrobial additives maintain material and product integrity for longer. Crucially, this saves consumers and businesses money in the long run.
Eliminate odors Microorganisms are one of the primary causes of unpleasant odors in textiles, footwear, kitchenware, and other similar products. By tackling the source of these unpleasant odors directly, antimicrobials keep products feeling and smelling fresher. That results in happier, more confident customers.
Over-consumption, fast fashion, and resource use are key issues in the fight against man-made climate change. Antimicrobials have a role to play in contributing to a more sustainable approach to product development and consumer behavior. By eliminating odors, antimicrobials allow consumers to reduce their water and electricity use. And by extending product lifespans, they encourage a switch from consumables to durables. These are important steps in creating a more eco-friendly approach to product development and use.
Here at Polygiene, we offer two core antimicrobial additives products, both of which are integrated into products at the point of manufacture.
Polygiene StayFresh is an advanced antibacterial solution that utilizes silver ion technology to disrupt bacterial growth. It is integrated into textiles during the manufacturing process, providing antibacterial protection for a product’s entire lifespan.
The solution is skin-safe and environmentally friendly, as demonstrated by its bluesign and Oeko-Tex Eco-Passport accreditations.
Polygiene BioMaster also uses silver ion technology to inhibit microbial growth. However, it can be integrated into almost any material, including most plastics and polymers, paper and board, paints and coatings, surfaces, textiles, and flexible films.
You can learn more about Polygiene solutions by visiting the Polygiene StayFresh and Polygiene BioMaster product pages. Alternatively, contact our experienced team to discuss how Polygiene solutions can benefit your brand and products.