Researchers at Stellenbosch University have developed a groundbreaking new polymer having permanent antimicrobial properties. The compound can be spun into nanofibers for the production of filter elements or membranes, which successfully filter out micro-organisms and eliminate harmful bacteria.

A non-leaching contact biocide antimicrobial coating can be applied to materials and textiles to make them permanently sterile and prevent bacterial growth. Examples of potential materials that could be coated include wound dressings, personal hygiene products, clothing, packaging, furniture, construction materials and textiles. Antimicrobial coatings find particular use in wound dressings as the exudate from the wound contained in an absorptive wound dressing typically encourages the growth of bacteria, resulting in infections that compromise wound healing.

Commercially available poly(styrene-co-maleic anhydride) copolymers are synthetically modified to incorporate quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) in the backbone of the polymer. QACs are well known to have antimicrobial activity and in this case act as contact biocides whilst permanently fixed on the surface of materials and textiles.

Target Industries

  1. Medical and Healthcare sector
  2. Textile industry

Unique Features/Benefits

Materials and textiles coated with the resin become permanently antimicrobial;

  • No leaching
  • Kills bacteria on contact
  • No loss of activity over time

Intellectual Property Protection

Opportunity type

Technology Readiness Level