Non-metal containing Anti-bacterial Polymers for Packaging Materials
Many studies have examined the use of metal particles that exhibit antifungal properties when dispersed into polymer resins. Many of these nanoparticles are commercially available. For example, Propack Industries offers such additives in the form of a particulate solid that can be compounded into the base resin. BactiBlock (NanoBioMatters) is a silver/nanoclay composite that is available either in powder form or as a masterbatch in various resins. BactiBlock is quite expensive but highly effective. Another additive uses zinc oxide nanoparticles as the agent (Zano 20, Umicore Zinc Chemicals), which is less expensive than BactiBlock but considered somewhat less effective. These should not be surprising as the literature has shown that metallic nanoparticles such as silver, copper and zinc oxide are very effective against bacteria and fungi once imparted into polymeric resins. Possible disadvantages is that such particles are often not anchored to the polymer, which can be problematic for remediation. We are currently evaluating non-metal polymers with anti-bacterial properties that can be easily compounded as layers or blends with packaging polymers. Such polymers are attractive due to cost and the ease of processing since they are thermoplastics.