Self-disinfection — new material claimed to reduce bacteria levels by 90+%


Wednesday, 11 October, 2017


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Bacteria — the scourge of food processing and health facilities. Now a new approach is on the horizon — scientists have developed a textile that disinfects itself. In fact, it is claimed that it can reduce bacterial loads by more than 90%.

The self-disinfecting device — known as Surfaceskins — has been developed by a spin-out company from the University of Leeds and is the culmination of seven years of research and development.

While a textile probably doesn’t have many direct applications in food plants, the technology behind the development does.

For example, replacing door plates with the specially engineered textile would bolster hand hygiene. It takes just one person with dirty hands to pass through a door to put everyone else who follows at risk of cross-contamination.

Surfaceskins antibacterial door pads work by dispensing a small quantity of alcohol gel onto the pad when it is pushed, which disinfects the surface ready for the next person to use the door.

This low-cost device, which incorporates three separate non-woven textiles, is designed to be replaced after seven days or one thousand pushes, whichever comes sooner.

Surfaceskins antibacterial door pads are not meant to replace the handwashing protocols but instead provide an extra line of defence by helping clean hands to stay clean.

Surfaceskins are being primarily targeted at the healthcare industry, but industrial sectors where there is a need for meticulous hand hygiene, such as in catering and hospitality, are also being investigated. They could also be used on cruise ships where the spread of bacteria can lead to outbreaks of sickness.

Image: A Surfaceskins pad showing the tiny valves that distribute anti-bacterial gel.

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