What is an antimicrobial additive?
Antimicrobial additives are formulations that contain a specific active ingredient with antimicrobial properties. These active agents (like silver or zinc) continuously fight against the growth and survival of microbes on surfaces, giving the products they are built-in to an extra layer of protection from stains, odors, and premature degradation.
Antimicrobial additives are effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi and can be seamlessly integrated into any substrate during manufacturing. Becoming an intrinsic feature of the products and surfaces in which they are built-in to, the active agent remains safe and effective for the usable lifetime of the finished product, never washing away or leaching out.
Choosing the right antimicrobial additive
Developing an antimicrobial product involves careful consideration to achieve desired efficacy and performance value, but the process can be daunting, lengthy, and costly if you don't choose the right company to partner with. Microban provides cross-functional support from regulatory, microbiology, and technical teams to streamline the product development process and help manufacturers select the right antimicrobial additive and formulation - without investing extensive amounts of time and money.
What active ingredients are used in antimicrobial technology?
Microban® has a vast portfolio of more than 25 approved antimicrobial technologies that can be customized to each product for effective use against organisms in their specific end-use environments. Our antimicrobial additives are primarily comprised of one of two inorganic active ingredients:
Silver ion antimicrobial technology
A silver-based active ingredient offering continuous and robust protection against bacterial growth. With antimicrobial use dating back to 400 B.C., silver is widely used across many materials, including food contact surfaces, textiles, polymers, coatings, and more.
Zinc antimicrobial technology
The broad-spectrum antimicrobial, recognized for both its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Zinc-based additives use multi-modal attacks against microbes and are typically used in products that are exposed to moisture and heat.
What formulations are available for antimicrobial additives?
Depending on the end-use product application and material, antimicrobial additives can be used in various forms. Our teams can help you select the formulation that works best with your manufacturing process and desired substrate.
Liquid: Pure active or combination of actives in a liquid carrier.
Benefits - easy to handle and mix
Powder: Ground masterbatch
Benefits - higher temperature tolerance, less interference with coating formulation ingredients
Masterbatch Pellet: Active or combination of actives incorporated into a polymer resin and formed into a pellet.
Benefits - increased additive stability and shelf life, cleaner production, simple incorporation
Any formulation chosen for the end-use product can be seamlessly integrated into the product by way of built-in or topically coated solutions. These methods are chosen with existing manufacturing processes and materials in mind to achieve the desired antimicrobial efficacy, look, and feel of each product.
How do antimicrobial additives work in products?
Once an antimicrobial additive is successfully integrated into the material of choice, the antimicrobial technology becomes an intrinsic feature of the end-use product. The technology then works at a cellular level, protecting the treated surface 24/7 from unrestricted microbial growth.
When microbes come in contact with a treated surface, the active ingredient penetrates the microbe and disrupts the cell’s vital life processes, leaving it unable to eat, make waste, or reproduce. Overtime, microbial activity is greatly reduced, and the surface is protected from further growth of degrading bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Benefits of Microban® antimicrobial additives
- Keeps product fresher for longer and cleaner in between cleanings
- Extends usable lifetime of products by reducing premature degradation by microbes
- Invisible layer of protection against bacteria, mold, and mildew
- History of safe and effective use in a variety of environments
- Delivers greater peace of mind to consumers
What products can be manufactured with antimicrobial additives?
Microban's robust assortment of antibacterial and antifungal additives can be incorporated into any material across a wide variety of products to bring a unique point of differentiation. All Microban additive formulations are regulatory compliant for almost every geographic region and territory. Products that display the Microban® brand Trustmark are valued for staying cleaner, fresher, and more durable.
Learn more about antimicrobial additive applications below and discover who we work with.