Spring-Summer collection 2001 - Bactericidal fabrics soon in fashion

n° 391 - March 2001


For several years, the biochemistry laboratory of the Lyon Institute of Textiles and Chemistry (ITECH, "Institut textile et chimique de Lyon") has been working to create functional textiles by fixing bactericidal molecules to the fibers. ITECH biochemists have begun a collaboration with UMR 5622 (CNRS-Université Lyon 1), which specializes in the derivatization of polymers to produce columns for molecular separations, and homogeneous recyclable catalysts. The potential applications of this research include anti-perspirant sports clothing and hospital linen. The techniques for grafting functional groups onto textile fibbers are relatively well understood, but several structural parameters must be optimized to reach a given objective. In particular, the Organic Synthesis and Catalysis laboratory have successfully defined

  • the chemical nature of the linker joining the bioactive molecule and the fiber
  • the length of the molecular spacer between the fibber and the active molecule
  • the rate and homogeneity of the graft

    Tests on several fabrics including cotton, wool and certain synthetics have given encouraging results. Permanent, wash-resistant bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities have been obtained at relatively weak graft rates, using standard textile industry techniques. It should therefore be possible to scale-up the process to an industrial level. Further development using industrial machinery is underway on the ITECH site.

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