AIMPLAS, the Spanish Plastics Technology Centre based in Valencia, is participating in the Dotmask Project led by specialty chemical manufacturer Lamberti, which is working to develop new antimicrobial coatings and plastics obtained from plant extracts using nanotechnology for personal protective equipment (PPE).
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.
The Dotmask Project is 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.
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 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. The effectiveness of the compounds will be tested at La Fe Hospital in Valencia.