What is an Antimicrobial?

We talk a lot about antimicrobial technology, but what does the term actually mean? How do you even pronounce antimicrobial? And more importantly, why should you care? Microban is taking this opportunity to enlighten you.

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Defining Antimicrobial Technology

Antimicrobial: adjective | an·ti·mi·cro·bi·al | ˌan-ti-mī-ˈkrō-bē-əl - Destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms.

For Microban, antimicrobial technology can be defined as a substance that works to inhibit the growth and reproduction of harmful bacteria, mold and mildew.

Unlike disinfectants which provide a limited residual activity once the treated surface dries, integrated antimicrobial technology works to continuously minimize the presence of microbes throughout the entire lifecycle of a product.

Mbns18 Microban Antibacterial Antifungal Antimicrobial

How Does Antimicrobial Technology Work?

Antimicrobial technology works at a cellular level to continually disrupt the growth and reproduction of microorganisms. It operates a multi-modal attack, damaging the protein, cell membrane, DNA and internal systems of a microbe. Once infused into a product, antimicrobial technology will start to work as soon as a microorganism comes into contact with the protected surface.

  • Protein Damage: antimicrobial agents attack the proteins of a microbe, causing failure of essential functions
  • Cell Disruption: antimicrobial agents damage the membrane of a microbe, leading to the loss of critical nutrients
  • Oxidative Damage: antimicrobial agents cause increased oxygen levels, leading to significant damage to the internal systems of a microbe
  • DNA Disruption: antimicrobial agents interfere with the genetics of a microbe, ultimately preventing its growth and reproduction
Mbns18 Microban Antimicrobial Dna Multi Modal Attack Microbes

What is An Antimicrobial Additive?

An antimicrobial additive is a substance that contains an appropriately registered antimicrobial agent. Integrated at the stage of manufacture, an antimicrobial additive will provide around-the-clock hygienic protection for the expected lifetime of a product. Additive formulations are based on a series of factors including target material and production processes. Microban offers antimicrobial additives in the following forms:

  • Liquid
  • Powder
  • Masterbatch Pellet

What Are the Active Ingredients in Antimicrobial Technology?

Antimicrobial technology typically contains one of three inorganic ingredients: silver, zinc or copper. The technology can also utilise organic ingredients such as Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs). The chosen biocide is largely dependent on the product type, where in the world it will be sold, and what efficacy claims the manufacturer is looking to make.

Microban's portfolio contains more than 25 approved antimicrobial technologies, each customized for effective use across a variety of industries and applications.

Beyond the Definitions

More than just a scientific definition, Microban® antimicrobial technology goes above and beyond to ensure products stay cleaner, fresher and more hygienic to use for longer. Treatable materials include plastics, paints, textiles and ceramics.

Microban® antimicrobial technologies have undergone extensive independent laboratory testing and have a long history of safe use. The biocidal active components of Microban® antimicrobial additives are notified with the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For use in direct food contact applications, Microban has a selection of antimicrobial technologies regulated under the Food Contact Materials Framework Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004. These products are listed by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) as additives which may be used in the manufacture of plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs under Directive 2002/72/EC and its amendments. These food contact additives are also registered with the EPA and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States of America.

Don't Delay, Protect Your Product Today!

For more information on antimicrobial technology, its applications, and how you can protect your product, contact a member of the global Microban team today.