Development of durable antimicrobial surfaces containing silver- and zinc-ion-exchanged zeolites


Abstract: The present work involves development of stable antimicrobial materials containing silver- and zinc-ion-exchanged zeolites. Faujasite X and Linde type A zeolites were synthesized, and following ion exchange with Ag^+ and Zn^{++} ions they were found to exhibit antimicrobial effects against bacteria (E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and S. aureus), yeast (C. albicans and C. glabrata), and fungi (A. niger and P. expansum). Zeolites-X and -A containing silver and zinc ions were then mixed with various coating materials, including paints and polypropylene, to develop antimicrobial composites. The long-term antimicrobial characteristics of zeolite-containing composite materials were investigated by inoculating selected microorganisms onto the surface of the materials. The results indicated that the higher the zeolite concentration present in the composite, the more long-term antimicrobial activity was achieved. Silver-ion-exchanged zeolites were more effective against bacterial and candidal species, while zinc zeolites exhibited noticeable antifungal properties. Materials manufactured with metal-ion-exchanged zeolites would prevent microbial growth on surfaces, reducing cross-contamination and infection risk as well as the microbial degradation of products.

Keywords: Silver, zinc, zeolite, antimicrobial, coating, polypropylene, paint

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