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Posted: Sep 25, 2013

Antibacterial textiles for hospitals - preventing nosocomial infections

(Nanowerk News) Infections that occur in the hospital are a major health concern in Europe, as well as a significant economic burden. In response, researchers are now developing a novel process to create antibacterial textiles for use in hospitals.
One in 10 hospital patients are affected by these so-called 'nosocomial' infections. The result is an extension of hospital stays by more than 10 million patient days per year in Europe alone. Thus, impregnating hospital textiles, such as bedding and bandages, with antibacterial nanoparticles, would significantly decrease nosocomial infections, improve patient outcomes and save millions of euros.
This is the premise of the EU-funded project 'A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process' (SONO). This research effort expands on a recently proven and patented single-step laboratory process to impregnate textiles with copper oxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles.
Project partners have created two pilot plants and are using them to optimise the coating process. This includes computational modelling of pressure, fluid dynamics and heat transport inside the sonochemical reactors. The team's findings will be used in the scale-up to industrial level.
Software and control equipment for the reactors have also been developed, tested and installed at the pilot plants. This allowed for process optimisation with regard to nanoparticle production and impregnation. Nanoparticle-coated fabrics were tested and displayed effective antibacterial properties and good longevity, lasting more than 65 washes in hospital washing machines (75 degrees centigrade) with insignificant loss of nanoparticles.
The pilot plants of the SONO project have shown that this is an effective method of producing textiles with strong antibacterial qualities. This project will now be upgraded to an industrial-scale plant for testing, and commercial applications should follow.
Source: Cordis
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