Chemists at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., have announced the availability of a new technology that, when applied to natural or synthetic materials, creates a permanent antimicrobial action. The potential applications for the technology, developed by Jason Locklin, an assistant professor of chemistry, include medical linens, clothing, face masks, paper towels, diapers, intimate apparel and athletic wear. Antimicrobial copolymers of hydrophobic N-alkyl and benzophenone-containing polyethylenimines were synthesized from commercially available and less expensive linear poly (2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) and attached to fabrics using mild photo-cross-linking. The polymers were applied to polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, cotton, and alkyl-coated oxide surfaces using solution casting or spray coating. The modified surfaces had substantial antimicrobial capacity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and other disease-causing bacteria (greater than 98 percent microbial death). The coating can be applied at any stage in the manufacture, sale or use of the product. Read more in the American Chemical Society’s publication Applied Materials and Interfaces.