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? Discover the answers below.

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What Is 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.

Antimicrobial technology can be defined as a substance that works to destroy or inhibit the growth and reproduction of bacteria, mold and mildew.

Mbns18 Microban Antibacterial Antifungal Antimicrobial

Unlike disinfectants, which provide a limited residual activity, integrated antimicrobial technology works to continuously reduce the number of microbes on a treated product throughout its expected lifecycle.

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 product protection from the growth of microbes including bacteria, fungi and algae.

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

Built-in antimicrobial additives will remain present and active for the expected lifetime of a product.

What Are the Active Ingredients in Antimicrobial Technology?

Antimicrobial technology typically contains one of three inorganic active ingredients:

  • Silver ion antimicrobials: suitable for a wide range of materials and applications, including medical coatings, plastics and food-contact products.
  • Zinc antimicrobials: a broad spectrum antimicrobial that is commonly favored for it's antifungal properties.
  • Copper antimicrobials: often used as a preservative and popular for medical products and surfaces.

Antimicrobial technologies can also consist of organic active 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.

What Are the Benefits of Equipping a Product With an Antimicrobial Additive?

Equipping product's with antimicrobial protection has many benefits for both manufacturers and consumers. Overall, our aim is to PROTECT, EXTEND & ELEVATE every treated article.

  • Antimicrobial Additives for Manufacturers: Antimicrobial additives help manufactures gain a distinct advantage over their competitors. By choosing to partner with Microban, you are not only providing your customers with inherently cleaner products but you are also leveraging one of the best known brand names in the industry. Combined, the Microban trademark and technologies boost a product’s credibility and help to drive increased demand. Explore why the Microban brand is a valuable Trustmark that consumers recognize.
  • Antimicrobial Additives for Consumers: By purchasing products that are equipped with an antimicrobial additive, consumers are benefiting in a number of ways. The antimicrobial protection infused into the product helps prevent the proliferation of product-damaging microbes that may otherwise shorten its lifespan. Stain and odor-causing microbes are also reduced, helping to keep the product fresher and cleaner in-between cleanings. Importantly, the antimicrobial additive technology does not wash off or wear away, and will continually inhibit potentially harmful microbes that make contact with the surface of the product. This offers added peace of mind when it's needed most.

What's the Difference Between Antibiotics and Antimicrobials?

Many substances can be described as antimicrobial. These include antibiotics and antimicrobial additives. However, there are key differences between the two terms.

  • Antimicrobials: can be built-in to almost any product or surface to continuously inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.
  • Antibiotics: administered as medicine for consumption by humans and animals only. Antibiotics only have efficacy against bacteria.

How Can a Company Infuse Antimicrobial Additives Into Its Products by Partnering With Microban®?

Microban's team of experienced polymer engineers, chemists and microbiologists work with you to determine the right antimicrobial additive for your product type.

Discover the complete product development process.

By choosing to partner with Microban®, you can be assured that your business is being safeguarded since all of our antimicrobial solutions meet the necessary safety regulations. Additionally, there will be no disruption to your work since the antimicrobial additives are infused into your products during your normal manufacturing process.

Microban® provides extensive support from initial conception to commercialisation and beyond. We work with you to ensure you effectively leverage the unique selling point that antimicrobial product protection can bring.

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).

Microban® has a selection of antimicrobial technologies that are 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.

Microban® 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 Microban® team today.