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Research and development trend of bio-based broad-spectrum antibacterial textiles

Time : 2021-07-05 Hits : 20

Abstract: The existing sanitary textiles and medical protective textiles are mainly physical barrier to viruses and bacteria, and have no effective antiviral and antimicrobial function. Most antimicrobial textiles obtain their functions by adding antimicrobial agents during fiber production or fabric finishing, which have problems such as potential harm to the environment (inorganic antimicrobial), potential toxicity to human body (organic antimicrobial), and unlasting and stable effect (natural antimicrobial).In 2016, Professor Tao Xiaoming's team discovered for the first time that the biobased broad-spectrum antimicrobial material -- polyhydroxy alkanate blend fiber and its textile, which has a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and antiviral function of nature and persistence, and has opened up a new direction for the development of antimicrobial textiles.

1. Trends and status quo

In recent years, China, the United States, Germany, Japan and other countries have dominated the antimicrobial textile market. The world's largest producer of antimicrobial textiles is located in the Asia-Pacific region. The major producers of antimicrobial textiles include Unitika Trading Co., Ltd., Birlacril, Gindanami Technology (Xiamen) Co., Ltd., Surgicotfab Textiles Pvt., Ltd., SaniDye-Ag.

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The global market for antimicrobial textiles was $9.468 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $12.313 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 5.4%. The healthcare industry is taking the lead in the use of antimicrobial textiles. By the end of August 2020, the number of medical and health institutions in China had reached 1.020 million. The number of hospitals increased from 20,000 in 2009 to 35,000 in 2020, including 12,000 public hospitals and 23,000 private hospitals. Thus, antibacterial textile market space is huge.

The existing sanitary textiles and medical protective textiles are mainly physical barrier to viruses and bacteria, and have no effective antiviral and antimicrobial function. Most antimicrobial textiles obtain their functions by adding antimicrobial agents during fiber production or fabric finishing, which have problems such as potential harm to the environment (inorganic antimicrobial), potential toxicity to human body (organic antimicrobial), and unlasting and stable effect (natural antimicrobial). The medical and health industry is in urgent need of a safe, efficient and stable antimicrobial textile for medical and health use.

II. Exploration and discovery

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Professor Tao Siu-ming of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been Chair Professor of Textile Technology at PolyU's Department of Textiles and Clothing since 2002. Professor Tao served as the World President of the International Textile Institute from 2007 to 2010. He was awarded the Honorary Fellow of the International Textile Institute in 2011, the highest individual award in the textile field. In 2013, he received the Founder's Award from the American Fibre Society, the highest award in the field of fiber science and technology. And the Royal Academy of Art, Design and Business. At the same time, Professor Tao is the chief editor of the "Handbook of Smart Textiles" published by Sprgren and serves on the editorial board of more than a dozen important academic journals in the field. Professor Tao is internationally renowned for his leading research in intelligent fiber materials, nanotechnology, photonic fibers and fabrics, flexible electronics and photonic devices, yarn production and textile composites.


III.  the characteristics of grain fiber

3.1 Efficient antibacterial and antiviral

Hydroxy butyrate (PHB), an effective antimicrobial component of grain fiber (PHBV/PLA), can effectively destroy the cell wall of bacteria and other microorganisms and the membrane of viruses, so that its internal substances leakage, resulting in metabolic imbalance, thereby inhibiting the breeding of bacteria and inactivating viruses, so as to achieve the effect of antimicrobial and antiviral.


Scanning electron microscopy showed that the bacterial biofilm was destroyed and the cell wall was damaged and perforated. Protein spill denaturation.

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(S-PHB destroys the biofilm)

3.2 No irritation and toxicity

The results of irritation experiments showed that PHB oligomer in proper dose was not irritable and toxic to skin, and could be used in health care textiles.

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(Fig.A Effect of S-PHB on the skin tissue of BALB/c mice)

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(Fig.b Skin photos of nude mice after S-PHB treatment for 72 hours)

3.3 Low temperature dyeing energy saving and environmental protection

Phoenol fiber (PHBV-PLA) can be degraded into water and carbon dioxide without residual pollutants, and the power consumption of fiber dyeing process is 32% less than that of polyester dyeing process.

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Comparison of PET and PHBV/PLA dyeing processes

IV. Application and extension


In 2019, the application of grain fiber medical textiles began in the Affiliated Hospital of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As a result, Nanjing Hesu Times Antimicrobial Materials Co., Ltd., which is responsible for textile manufacturing, has become the sole supplier of antimicrobial and antiviral medical products in Hong Kong for the "Inherent Textiles to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections" project.

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(Antibacterial and antiviral medical products)

Nanjing Hesu Times Antibacterial Material Technology Co., Ltd. is a national high-tech enterprise. Under the guidance of Professor Tao Xiaoming, biodegradable material PHBV (polyhydroxybutyrate valerate) antibacterial masterbatch was added into PLA, PET and other textiles in an innovative way to develop a series of products "Wo" and "Wo", which give textiles non-dissolution antibacterial and antiviral functions, higher safety and stability, and have obvious odor removal effect. It can be widely used in medical supplies, textile and clothing, home textile supplies, maternal and baby care, female products, personal protection and other fields.

4.1 Antibacterial baby fabric

Antibacterial, comfortable, skin care is the future development trend of baby fabrics, is also the focus of development and attention of related enterprises. Cotton (PHBV/PLA) 70/30 knitted baby and child fabrics, tested by the third party authority, antiviral activity rate of 87.54%. And after AAA grade washing standard, the fabric has soft, delicate, antibacterial, skin care and other characteristics, while ensuring the comfort of baby fabric, increase the safe and stable antibacterial function, effectively care for baby skin health.

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(Fabric for baby and child with biological antibacterial function)

4.2 Antibacterial denim fabrics

Soft, comfortable, healthy and antibacterial denim fabric is the future development trend. The fabric of corn denim perfectly inherited the characteristics of high effective antibacterial of corn fiber. In the antiviral detection of H1N1 and H3N2, the antiviral activity rate reached 99.94%, and the antiviral activity rate of poliovirus reached 99.19%. For those who like wearing jeans, but worry about discoloration if they are washed frequently, even if they are not washed frequently, they can effectively resist the attack of bacteria and viruses.

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(Denim fabric with bio-based antibacterial function)

4.3 Antibacterial non-woven fabric

Green anti-bacterial non-woven fabric has the characteristics of green anti-bacterial, environmental protection and health. On this basis, a wide range of C-end care products can be developed, such as sanitary napkins, diapers, cotton soft napkins, wet napkins and so on. Compared with the main products on the market, while ensuring the softness, water absorption and other characteristics, increased the advantages of antibacterial, effectively improve the quality of the product.

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(Non-woven fabric products with bio-based antibacterial function)

V. Prospects and challenges

Grain series fiber can match different textile technology, yarn, fabrics, the biological basis of antibacterial performance is more stable, more efficient, more secure, with technological breakthroughs and innovation of each link, more high quality functional grain products will be put on the market in succession, help to improve the added value of traditional products and market competitiveness on the market, This is also the original intention and direction of the development of grain fiber products, so that more families can enjoy a high quality of healthy life.

At the same time, as a new type of bio-based antibacterial fiber, it is urgent to establish the relationship between biological, physical and chemical properties, related mechanism, processing performance and technology of this kind of antibacterial and antiviral fiber textile, and the industrial standard system of this kind of biological intrinsic durable antibacterial and antiviral products is urgent to establish.

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