2010-009 – Antimicrobial Fabrics using Surface Conjugated Polymers


Inhibiting and controlling bacterial contamination and growth is a major global concern. The exploding popularity of anti-bacterial products and increased education about “super bugs” like Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has many consumers on alert for opportunities to eliminate their exposure to germs. Although standard disinfection protocols work well on cells in suspension, those that are attached to surfaces, which account for the majority of bacteria in the world, are notoriously resistant to standard disinfection protocols. Previous studies have shown that certain conjugated polyelectrolytes exhibit dark and light-activated biocidal activity against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria and bacterial spores. More recent work has shown that coatings on solid surfaces are also effective at entrapping bacteria and killing them either in the dark or upon irradiation with light absorbed by the conjugated polyelecetrolyte.

Technology Description
Researchers have developed a novel application of surface-grated antimicrobial polymers to fabrics and soft surfaces. These polymers are also effective at killing bacteria when incorporated into coatings. While this mechanism has shown to apply specifically for conjugated polyelectrolyte coatings, it also would generally apply to other formats to have remarkable abilities to capture and subsequently kill bacteria.


  • Surface coatings that are self-cleaning
  • Provides effective methods for killing and entrapping microbes
  • Does not promote formation of resistant strains of microbes
  • Display low toxicity to organisms, but high toxicity to microbes
  • Can develop different blends of coatings to specifically release or retain killed bacteria based on the desired retention properties
  • Coatings that release microbial material, either upon washing or other decontamination can undergo multiple uses
  • Provides solutions to the limitations of current antimicrobial systems
  • Reduce health care costs by avoiding infections caused by bacteria

Contact Information

Name: Gregg Banninger

Email: GBanninger@innovations.unm.edu

Phone: 505-272-7908