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Comparative performance of a panel of commercially available antimicrobial nanocoatings in Europe


Bacterial resistance against the classic antibiotics is posing an increasing challenge for the prevention and treatment of infections in health care environments. The introduction of antimicrobial nanocoatings with active ingredients provides alternative measures for active killing of microorganisms, through a preventive hygiene approach.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial activity of a panel of antimicrobial coatings available on the European market.


A comparative, biased selection of commercially available antimicrobial coatings was tested for antimicrobial efficiency. Suppliers were contacted to deliver their coatings on glass and/or stainless steel substrates. In total, 23 coatings from eleven suppliers were received, which were investigated for their effect on the growth of Escherichia coli, using the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22196 protocol.


The majority of nanomaterial-containing coatings (n=13) contained nanosilver (n=12), while only one had photocatalytic TiO2 as the active particle. The differences in antimicrobial activity among all of the coatings, expressed as log reduction values, varied between 1.3 and 6.6, while the variation within the nanomaterial-based group was between 2.0 and 6.2. Although nanosilver coatings were on average very effective in reducing the number of viable bacteria after challenge, the strongest log reduction (6.6) was seen with a coating that has immobilized, covalently bound quaternary ammonium salt in its matrix. Besides these two compounds, coatings containing TiO2, poly(dimethylsiloxane), triclosan, or zinc pyrithione evoked 100% killing of E. coli.


Our findings indicate that nanosilver dominates the nanoparticle-based coatings and performs adequately. However, considering the unknowns in relation to ecotoxicological emission and effects, it needs further consideration before widespread application into different environments.


coatings, nanotechnology, nanosilver, biocides

Nanotechnol Sci Appl. 2014; 7: 97–104.

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