Long-Term Antimicrobial Performance of Textiles Coated with ZnO and TiO2 Nanoparticles in a Tropical Climate
This paper reports the results of the large-scale field testing of composite materials with antibacterial properties in a tropical climate. The composite materials, based on a cotton fabric with a coating of metal oxide nanoparticles (TiO2 and/or ZnO), were produced using high-power ultrasonic treatment. The antibacterial properties of the materials were studied in laboratory tests on solid and liquid nutrient media using bacteria of different taxonomic groups (Escherichia coli, Chromobacterium violaceum, Pseudomonas chlororaphis). On solid media, the coatings were able to achieve a >50% decrease in the number of bacteria. The field tests were carried out in a tropical climate, at the Climate test station “Hoa Lac” (Hanoi city, Vietnam). The composite materials demonstrated long-term antibacterial activity in the tropical climate: the number of microorganisms remained within the range of 1–3% in comparison with the control sample for the duration of the experiment (3 months). Ten of the microorganisms that most frequently occurred on the surface of the coated textiles were identified. The bacteria were harmless, while the fungi were pathogenic and contributed to fabric deterioration. Tensile strength deterioration was also studied, with the fabrics coated with metal oxides demonstrating a better preservation of their mechanical characteristics over time, (there was a 42% tensile strength decrease for the reference non-coated sample and a 21% decrease for the sample with a ZnO + CTAB coating).