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Project explores plant-based additives for PPE

Aim is to replace metal-based additives.

24th October 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Valencia, Spain


Aimplas, the Spanish Plastics Technology Centre based in Valencia, is participating in the Dotmask Project led by speciality chemical manufacturer Lamberti, which is working to develop new antimicrobial coatings and plastics obtained from plant extracts using nanotechnology for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The initiative also includes the participation of the Medical Research Institute of La Fe Hospital in Valencia, biotech company ADM Biopolis and mask manufacturer Airnatech.

Materials with antibacterial and viricidal capacity are being developed to respond to the need to reduce infection from pathogens such as Covid-19, which are frequently transmitted by air. Viruses and bacteria are particularly hazardous in hospital environments, where they become resistant to drugs.

Coatings designed to date as a passive protective measure use inorganic, metal-based additives, but these have disadvantages, such as the propensity to corrode in certain environments and the possible release of active ions, which has raised doubts about potential toxicity.

Plant extracts maintain the same bactericidal and viricidal properties as conventional non-natural antimicrobials, with the added advantage that they have less risk of adverse effects, allergies and toxicity for users and the environment because they are bio-based compounds.

The Dotmask Project is therefore developing materials based on bio-based phenolic compounds with strong antimicrobial activity for integration in PPE. The aim is to provide highly efficient protection against pathogens and significantly reduce the transmission of disease.

The new antimicrobial coatings, developed from botanical extracts obtained using biotechnology, will be applied to textiles for mask manufacturing and to plastic sheets for protective face shields.

Lamberti, which specialises in chemical coatings, will be supported by ADM Biopolis, which will analyse the antimicrobial capacity of the additives and carry out mandatory toxicity tests. Aimplas will contribute new developments in antimicrobial plastic materials and Airnatech will include them as new additives for masks. The effectiveness of the compounds will be tested at La Fe Hospital in Valencia.

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