Agion Technologies, a provider of silver-based antimicrobial solutions, has formed a multi-year, exclusive partnership with BASF to develop and commercialise styrene copolymers, including BASF’s Luran S product line, that will feature Agion’s antimicrobial technology.
BASF’s copolymers are used in a variety of markets such as household appliances, automotive, cosmetic packaging, building and construction, and consumer electronics. The partnership is initially focusing on the European market, but a global rollout is envisioned in the near future.
The incorporation of Agion antimicrobial technology into plastics inhibits microbial growth on the surface of products. The technology provides continuous protection from microbes by releasing silver ions to the surface of the product at a slow and steady rate. This allows for the long-lasting protection of the product against the damaging effects of microbial growth.
BASF’s Luran S is an all-purpose plastic that offers UV stability, good chemical resistance, stability and thermal shock resistance. Luran S is used in a variety of applications and can be found in many different final products including sanitary equipment, building & construction, appliances, computer/communication equipment, cosmetic packaging and recreational equipment.
Agion’s antimicrobial technology has been approved for food and water contact by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EFSA (European Food Safety Assn.) and is listed as an indirect food contact substance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Agion’s product is also a notified existing substance under Directive 98/8/EC on European Biocidal Products Directive (BPD).
How it works
Agion’s customized antimicrobial solutions incorporate silver ions in a zeolite carrier. The silver ions exchange with other positive ions (often sodium) from the moisture in the environment, effecting a release of silver “on demand”.
The patented multi-faceted zeolite crystal carrier provides a three dimensional release mechanism, Figure 1, that provides efficient release of silver ions independent of particle orientation in the substrate.
Figure 2 shows the ion exchange process. Zeolite crystals containing silver ions are randomly oriented and distributed through the surface of a fibre, polymer or coating. In conditions that support bacterial growth, positive ions, in ambient moisture, exchange with silver ions at reversible bonding sites on the zeolite. The exchanged silver ions are now available to control microbial growth.
Silver ions attack multiple targets in the microbe to prevent it from growing to a destructive population. This tri-modal action fights cell growth in three ways. It prevents respiration by inhibiting transport functions in the cell wall, inhibits cell division (reproduction) and disrupts cell metabolism
Depending on the microorganism, the antimicrobial technology has been shown to initially reduce microbial populate ions within minutes to hours while maintaining optimal performance for years.