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Hygienic coatings with active ingredient controlled release

Final Report Summary - HYCORE (Hygienic coatings with active ingredient controlled release)

This project proposed the development of new hygienic coatings with a controlled release of antimicrobial active ingredients in order to achieve surfaces free from biocontaminants and to assure health and safety conditions. Furthermore, this project contributed towards the development of safer inhibition systems via a culture of thorough cleanliness, with minimal use of environmentally unfriendly chemicals, and an emphasis on novel approaches and technologies.

Current hygienic coatings (applied in food processing areas, hospitals, etc.) are vulnerable to microbial surface colonisation and can be focuses of bacterial and fungal contamination. Nowadays, there is restrictive legislation concerning safety and health in sanitary places - demanding new solutions.

The novel approach to avoid microbial surface colonisation in sanitary places is based on the development of a high tech coating by means of the incorporation of reservoirs (in micro-gels, in micro-particles or grafted on polymer chains) containing anti bacterial active ingredients (biocides) which will be released in a controlled way.

The new developed hygienic coatings were formulated both to provide easy cleaning and to incorporate active ingredients (the biocides), which will assist in the removal or deactivation of biocontamination. These coatings play an important role in restricting the spread of microbiological contamination, especially in the sanitary places, where it is really important to assure and maintain the safety and sanitary conditions. Besides being resistant to bacteria and fungi growth, the specified hygienic coating systems must be resistant to chemical attack and physical abuse. Thus, the new hygienic coatings provide a combination of excellent benefits, including low toxicity, safe handling properties, environmentally friendly attributes, maximum efficacy and effective performance.

The overall benefits of the project can be summarised in the following terms:
1) Improvement of sanitary conditions in clinical settings, where good hygiene contributes to reduced antibiotic resistance through reduced prescribing. The new paint will last longer than current commercial formulations.
2) Improvement in the environmental field: The new formulations will suppose an important reduction of disinfectant substances' consumption, as less cleaning of sanitary surfaces will be required. In addition to this, the substitution of solvent based formulations by using water based formulations, leads to a reduction in the emitted volatile organic compounds (VOC) thus reducing the environmental impact of the coating manufacturing industry.
3) Improvement in working conditions: the substitution of solvent-based formulations by means of water borne ones in sanitary coatings, will significantly improve the working conditions of those workers related with the production and application of those coatings. They will be in contact with less content of toxic compounds like biocides while working. Moreover, the drastically reduction of the microbes and microorganisms in sanitary places, will have a direct positive effect on their workers health as they will be in a very much more healthy environment.

The above factors will result in a minimum 10 % reduction in sanitary painting costs, 2 years after the project. Coating manufacturers will improve their competitiveness due to the development of new products that may widen their application field increasing their market areas. Ultimately it will allow the creation of a new product that will give them a chance to improve their competitiveness in their current market areas and more precisely in the sanitary field.