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additives feature | Antimicrobials and biocides

Pas Reform is using Microban additives in egg incubation trays and hatcher

baskets for the poultry industry

door handles, offer a significant opportunity for antimicrobial technologies incorporated into the resin, but there appears to be a slower adoption rate in medical device applications, says James Petrie, director of marketing, PolyOne Color & Additives, North America. “This reluctance may be due to

existing entrenched technolo- gies like coatings, which are delivering acceptable, but not exceptional, results in catheter and similar applications. It is also a function of concerns regarding short cuts being taken in the cleaning and disinfecting protocols if antimicrobials are known to be embedded in surfaces,” explains Petrie. A lengthy approval process for medical devices, which applies to any new material, including antimicrobials, also slows the pace of change. “For those willing to endure the approval process, the rewards are tremendous and can significantly limit potential competitors,” says Petrie.

Food-contact surfaces Surfaces that come in contact with food, either at the consumer or commercial level, are another area that can benefit from antimicrobials. PolyOne has seen an ongoing trend in their customers’ desire to extend the useable life and aesthetic appeal of products, as well as a strong interest in its WithStand family of antimicrobial technologies in sensitive applications like food service and water storage. “These are applications that can be conducive to microbial growth and where that growth is especially undesirable,” says Petrie. The food supply chain – from high-density animal husbandry to processing and packaging – has many surfaces that can sustain microbial growth, adds Ong at Microban. There is currently some use of antimicrobial polymers for applications such as conveyors in food processing facilities. A hurdle to use in these industries, says Ong, is that antimicrobial additives must be used along with liquid disinfectants in traditional cleaning, which makes it difficult to justify the cost for users. “There is synergy to be explored, however, and the market is open for innovation that can prove a benefit, such as extending shelf life of meats by reducing spoilage,” he explains. An example of a company that has found a benefit to using antimicrobials is Pas Reform, which uses Microban’s additives in egg incubation trays and hatcher baskets for the poultry farming industry. “The constant flow of eggs and chicks can, without proper hygiene practices, increase the risk of disease transfer anywhere in the poultry production chain,” notes Pas Reform.


Consumer products There are numerous commercial applications of antimicrobials in consumer applications. For example, Americhem supplies its nShield silver and organic antimicrobials for application areas such as home appliances, bathroom sanitary wares, kitchen, and food processing, as well as water filtration and medical devices. The product line has expanded from master- batches to fully formulated compounds and powder blends of additives, notes Vaman Kulkarni, global director of business development at Americhem. Silver-based solutions are particularly suitable for

high-temperature applications where strong antibacte- rial efficacy and a high level of human safety is impor- tant, such as food and drinking-water contact. Organic solutions generally also have good efficacy against fungi and algae and lower cost compared to silver-based solutions; these are frequently used in outdoor plastics applications, as well as cost sensitive, lower process- ing-temperature polymers, such as polyolefins, PVC, and rubbers, says Kulkarni. “Silver has stood the test of time, and is the mainstay

for engineering plastics in all geographic regions because of its stability at higher processing tempera- tures,” he says. Americhem’s nShield plant extract- based antimicrobial, developed in partnership with Life Material Technologies, is useful for polymers with lower processing temperatures (up to 230°C), such as olefins and flexible urethanes. The product complies with US EPA FIFRA regulations and the EU’s Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012. “Markets for plant-based antimi- crobials continue to evolve, and this is an ongoing area of research and development,” notes Kulkarni. Janssen PMP’s Sanafor PO-5 is now registered by

the US EPA as an antimicrobial masterbatch designed for inclusion in polyolefin materials, the company announced in August last year. The product offers

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