Anti-Microbial Technology: How does it work?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, antimicrobial technology like coatings and textiles made of silver and copper are assisting people by ensuring that anything they touch, such as a door handle or their own mask, is free of live SARS-CoV-2 particles and microbes.  But how exactly does this anti-microbial technology work?  What is anti microbial? Anti-microbial technology […]

Ngoc Anh Nguyen
Published 28 Oct 2022
anti-microbial technology
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During the Covid-19 pandemic, antimicrobial technology like coatings and textiles made of silver and copper are assisting people by ensuring that anything they touch, such as a door handle or their own mask, is free of live SARS-CoV-2 particles and microbes. 

But how exactly does this anti-microbial technology work? 

What is anti microbial?

  • Anti-microbial technology is a substance that works to prevent hazardous bacteria, microbes, mold, and mildew from growing and reproducing.
  • Antimicrobial compounds provide a higher level of product protection than antibacterial agents do. Antimicrobial compounds are ideal for usage in hygiene-sensitive settings like schools, hospitals, commercial kitchens, and pool decks due to their broad-spectrum activity.
  • When bacteria and microbes interact with our products, they struggle to live due to the multi-modal anti-microbial technology.
  • Stain- and odor-producing bacteria can harm the aesthetic and structural qualities of a product,  but antimicrobial technology is resistant to their growth. By doing this, you can extend the time that your surface is fresh and clean.
  • Your surface is automatically cleansed with anti-microbial technology. Because of the decreased microbial load, the product is less likely to facilitate the spread of dangerous bacteria to other surfaces.\
Anti-microbial technology ‘s definition (Source: Internet)
Anti-microbial technology ‘s definition (Source: Internet)

What is an antimicrobial example?

These are examples of antimicrobials that occur naturally that we use in our technology portfolio:

  • Silver ion antimicrobials

Silver has been used as an example of antimicrobial agents since Hippocrates first described silver’s antimicrobial properties in 400 B.C. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that scientists understood how silver works. Small amounts of silver disrupt bacteria’s metabolism by preventing it from converting nutrients into energy, which inhibits bacteria survival, reproduction and colonization.

Microban silver technology, SilverShield®, harnesses the antimicrobial properties of to silver to enhance polymers, ceramics, textiles and a range of other materials. The unique geometry and highly efficient release mechanism of SilverShield means it is high performing whilst maintaining material durability and integrity.

Silver ion antimicrobial (Source: Internet)
Silver ion antimicrobial (Source: Internet)

  • Zinc antimicrobials

Unlike other examples of antimicrobials such as silver and copper, ZPTech® is a wide-spectrum antimicrobial based on zinc pyrithione, effective against not just bacteria but also the growth of fungi including mold, mildew and algae.

Humans first developed Zinc pyrithione in the 1930s for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, and today it is still commonly a main ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos and as an over-the-counter treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, athletes’ foot, ringworm and other medical conditions. Zinc pyrithione is also in paints, textiles and polymer products to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi on susceptible surfaces.

Microban ZPTech technology is a very durable example of an antimicrobial. Durability testing shows that polymers soaked for 2000 hours at 70°C in a detergent bath containing 3000 ppm ZPTech remained 99.99% effective in preventing the growth of Klebsiella pneumoniae, a gram-negative bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections.

FDA approved ZPTech as a treatment for dandruff and other fungal infections at high levels, and at low levels (below 1000 ppm) it is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe to use in a variety of applications, including those that come in contact with food. 

Zinc Antimicrobial (Source: Internet)
Zinc Antimicrobial (Source: Internet)

What is anti microbial material?

Antimicrobial materials are small molecules, macromolecules, polymers, ceramics, metals or composites with microbicidal activities against bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Though the history of mankind, we are strongly fighting with infected diseases that are induced by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other pathogens. Despite the fact that several medications, including antibiotics and chemicals, have been created since around a century ago, other threats to human health still exist, including drug resistance and the emergence of novel diseases. Consequently, there has been a boom in the creation of antimicrobial materials. 

The antimicrobial materials are being enhanced to combat bacteria, starting with silver containers in ancient times and manufactured compounds in the early 20th century. Modern technologies also support antibacterial materials’ efficacies. Recent advancements in materials science and engineering have enhanced the efficacies and capabilities of antimicrobial materials, strengthening their resistance to complex, serious illnesses.

Which is anti microbial agent?

Different types of organisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses, etc., in humans and animals can cause infections and diseases. The drug helps prevent the pathogenicity of microorganisms is an antimicrobial agent.

Antimicrobial agents are useful in preventing infections and diseases caused by pathogens. Different types of antimicrobial drugs are commonly available. These are as follows:

  • Antibacterial drug: A drug that is used to inhibit the pathogenic activity of bacteria is called an antibacterial drug. 

Ex: Zithromax.

  • Antifungal drug: A drug that is used to prevent fungal activity in the host is called an antifungal drug.

Example: Miconazole

  • Antiviral agent: A drug which is used to stop the pathogenic action of a virus is called antiviral agents. 

Ex: Tamiflu.

  • Antiparasitic drug: A drug that is used to prevent the growth of pathogenic parasites. 

Example: Anthelmintics

There are 3 types of antimicrobial agents (Source: Internet)
There are 3 types of antimicrobial agents (Source: Internet)

Antimicrobial Agents Uses

The use of antimicrobial agents as highly specific inhibitors has in turn substantially assisted the investigation of complex biochemical processes. While different forms of antimicrobials have been in use for decades, more customers have become aware of antimicrobial treatments for floor coverings in the past forty or so years.

Scientists have found several forms of antimicrobials marketed to the carpet industry by different firms to contain bacteria and fungi. From a scientific point of view, the carpet systems use three simple chemical compositions. These are organometallics, organo-silanes, and organometallics. They can also pair with each other.

How does anti microbial work?

to continually disrupt and prevent the growth of microorganisms. Antimicrobials safeguard commonplace items like worktops, toys, surface coatings, textiles, and medical equipment by establishing an environment that is unfriendly to microorganisms including bacteria, mold, and mildew.

These antimicrobials’ ability to prevent the expansion of microbe populations shields products from the effects of microbial growth, which can harm them and shorten their shelf lives. Products are assured to stay cleaner and fresher longer because antimicrobial solutions are embedded into them to disrupt the environment where germs might proliferate uncontrollably.

Antimicrobials work at a cellular level  (Source: Internet)
Antimicrobials work at a cellular level  (Source: Internet)

What are anti microbial products?

Household products that are labelled as antibacterial, antiseptic or antimicrobial include:

  • soaps and detergents
  • hand lotions
  • disinfectants
  • window cleaners
  • cleaning cloths
  • surface sprays
  • mouthwashes
  • toothpastes
  • garbage bags and plastic wrap
  • textiles and carpet underlay.

Many of these products contain antibacterial agents such as triclosan. These ingredients are valuable in hospitals and other healthcare settings, but unnecessary domestic use could compromise their effectiveness. Their widespread use in the home could make some bacteria resistant to these antibacterial substances.

However, the overuse of antibacterial cleaning products, including disinfectants in the home, may be producing strains of bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. 

Household products that are labelled as antibacterial, antiseptic or antimicrobial (Source: Internet)
Household products that are labelled as antibacterial, antiseptic or antimicrobial (Source: Internet)

What are the 3 types of antimicrobial?

There are three types of public health antimicrobials: sterilizers, disinfectants, and sanitizers.

  • Sanitizers are the weakest public-health antimicrobials. They reduce bacteria on surfaces.Some sanitizers may be used on food-contact surfaces such as countertops, cutting boards, or children’s high chairs. The label will indicate how a sanitizer can be used. Some sanitizers can be used only for non-food contact surfaces like toilet bowls and carpets, or air. 

  • Disinfectants kill or prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Some disinfectants target specific viruses. Disinfectants that kill microbes are microbicides, but if they only stop microbial growth, without killing the microbe, they are microbistats. Disinfectants are the preferred public-health antimicrobial for common surfaces in medical settings. Disinfectants are also in residential settings. Different products purify swimming pools and disinfect household surfaces such as linens, toilets, and bathtubs. Whether disinfectants are in medical or residentials settings, or elsewhere, they may not be used on surfaces that come in contact with food.

  • Sterilizers are the strongest type of public health antimicrobial product. In addition to bacteria, algae, and fungi, they also control hard-to-kill spores. Many sterilizers are pesticides. These require applicator training and certification. People use sterilizers in medical and research settings when they must prevent the presence of microbes as much as possible. In addition to chemical sterilizers, human also use high-pressure steam and ovens to sterilize items.
There are 3 main types of anti-microbial (Source: Internet)
There are 3 main types of anti-microbial (Source: Internet)

What is the difference between antimicrobial and antibiotic?


  • “Antibiotic” is a term describing a compound that combats bacterial infections inside the body. 
  • “Antimicrobial” is a greater encompassing term for any additive that inhibits or kills a multitude of microorganisms, both inside and/or outside of the body.

Antibiotics specifically target bacteria and treat bacterial infections. On the other hand, antimicrobials encompass a broader range of products that act on microbes in general. Microbes encompass different types of organisms: bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa.

Moreover, antibiotics are medicines help prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Bacteria, not humans, become antibiotic resistant. These bacteria may then infect humans and are harder to treat than non-resistant bacteria. 

Meanwhile, antimicrobial resistance is a broader term, encompassing resistance to drugs to treat infections caused by other microbes as well, such as parasites (e.g. malaria), viruses (e.g. HIV) and fungi (e.g. Candida).

the difference between antibiotic and antimicrobial
Antibiotic # Antimicrobial (Source: Internet)

So that is how anti-microbial technology works!

In short, we can see that anti-microbial = anti-germ = anti-infection = anti-waste!

How amazing is it? To reduce the spread of germs, we rely on anti-microbial technology in disinfectants and sanitizers. Anti-micriobials are among the first line of defense in the battle against infection and microbes. 
Disinfectants and sterilizers are essential to killing germs and viruses that would otherwise pose real dangers to your family.

Is this article helpful?

If you want more information about any industries, we invite you to visit our blog

Of course, if you still have any doubts or would like to talk to us personally, do not hesitate to contact us, we’ll be glad to meet you and give you the most clear answers. Learn more about us here!


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