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USDA Develops Eco-Friendlier Anti-Stink Treatments for Clothing

self-cleaning clothing, U.S. Department of Agriculture, nanotechnology, nanosilver, silver nanotechnology, silver nanoparticles, wearable technology, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Agricultural Research Service, polyethylene glycol, Sunghyun Nam, Dharnidhar Parikh

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture isn’t exactly known for its bleeding-edge fashion, but don’t count the federal agency out just yet. Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service are investigating safer and less expensive ways of using silver nanoparticles to inhibit odor-causing bacteria in cotton. Although nanosilver is gaining traction in everything from clothing to plastic food containers, synthetic methods of production have long relied on toxic agents and organic solvents, according to Brian Condon, a team leader at the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans.

self-cleaning clothing, U.S. Department of Agriculture, nanotechnology, nanosilver, silver nanotechnology, silver nanoparticles, wearable technology, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Agricultural Research Service, polyethylene glycol, Sunghyun Nam, Dharnidhar Parikh

Photo by Shutterstock

STINK BEGONE

Condon and his colleagues discovered that polyethylene glycol and water worked just as well in generating silver particles of the desired size. Furthermore, they were able to coax nano-sized silver to form directly on the cotton fibers, eliminating any handling or storage of the antimicrobial agent. “This is a leg up for cotton over the synthetics,” which have not been amenable to silver nanoparticle treatment, he says.

The USDA found that polyethylene glycol and water worked just as well in generating silver particles of the desired size.

Together with Condon, ARS chemist Vince Edwards was also able to infuse non-woven cotton fabrics with lysozyme, an enzyme that destroys odor- or infection-causing microorganisms by slicing open their cell walls. Similar enzymes, Condon adds, have potential applications in biodefense, such as deactivating nerve agents by chewing up or “hydrolyzing” them.

+ Press Release

+ U.S. Department of Agriculture

[Via PhysOrg]

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One Response to “USDA Develops Eco-Friendlier Anti-Stink Treatments for Clothing”

  1. ambercake says:

    I thought the biggest problem with nano-silver was washing off and the nano-silver getting into the environment. Does the new technology of joining them to the cotton make it “stick” better?

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