Endowing Textiles with Permanent Potent
Biocidal Properties by Impregnating Them with Copper Oxide
Gadi Borkow* and Jeffrey Gabbay
Cupron Inc. POB 10973, Greensboro, NC 27404, USA
*Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Gadi Borkow, Hameyasdim 44,
Kfar Gibton 76910, Israel; Tel: 972-546-611287, from USA: 1-866-317-4670;
Fax: 972-8-9491254; email: email@example.com
Copper has been used as a biocide by Celts, Hindus,
American pioneers and Japanese, as well as by inhabitants of Africa
and Asia for treating sores
and skin diseases (1). Today, soluble copper compounds are used as
bactericides, algaecides, fungicides or molluscicides. Copper has also
been shown to
inactivate a variety of enveloped and non-enveloped viruses (2).
1. Socks containing 12% copper impregnated fibers were washed up
to 100 consecutive times by using AATCC test method (TM) 150. The
copper impregnated fibers were analyzed by scanning electronic
microscope (SEM). The amount of copper particles throughout the
fibers was not changed. Moreover, as shown in the lower SEM picture,
there was no reduction in copper oxide particles in socks used
and worn 75 times.
biocidal efficacy following consecutive washes of a fabric made from
a 50/50 polyester/cotton blend. Fifty percent of the polyester fibers
were impregnated with 1% (weight/weight) copper oxide particles.
The test method used to determine the biocidal efficacy of the fabrics
before and after washings was the AATCC TM 100. The tests were conducted
by an independent laboratory (AminoLab, Rehovot, Israel). The fabrics
were exposed to Staphylococcus aureus and to Escherichia coli for
4 hours and to Candida albicans for 24 hours.
Utilizing the properties of copper, two durable platform technologies
were developed: the first one plates cotton fibers with copper
oxide and the
second one impregnates polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyurethane,
polyolefin, or nylon fibers with copper oxide. Both technologies
endow the fibers with potent broad-spectrum anti-bacterial, anti-viral,
and anti-mite properties (3,4). These copper oxide-treated fibers
are then readily introduced into the mass production of woven,
knits and non-woven
fabrics with no requirement for alteration of industrial procedures
3. a) Antiviral non-woven mask containing 3% copper impregnated
polypropylene fibers (w/w). b) Antifungal and antibacterial socks
that cure athlete’s
foot. These socks received the approval of the American Podiatric
Medical Association. The soles of the socks contain 12% copper
impregnated polyester fibers with 1% (w/w) copper oxide content.
The potency and the kill rate of the fabrics
depend on the final percentage and load of the copper oxide plated or
in the fabrics.
The biocidal properties of the fabrics are permanent and sustained
even following washing and use (Figures 1 and 2). Animal and human
have demonstrated that these fibers do not possess skin sensitization
(3,4). This technology thus facilitates the production of anti-viral
masks (Fig 3a), gloves and filters (which deactivate HIV-1, flu
and other viruses;
Ref 3); anti-bacterial fabrics (which kill antibiotic resistant
bacteria, including MRSA and VRE; Ref 3 and 4); anti-fungal socks
foot; Fig 3b, Ref 4 and manuscript in preparation); anti-dust mite
mattress-covers (which reduce mite-related allergies; Ref 3) and
gauze (which is highly
effective in promoting skin regeneration, closure of chronic wounds
and the alleviation of bed sores; manuscript in preparation).
1. Dollwet, H. H. A. and Sorenson, J. R. J. (2001) Trace Elements in Medicine
2. Borkow, G., and Gabbay, J. (2005) Copper as a biocidal tool. Current
Medicinal Chemistry 12(18): 2163-75.
3. Borkow, G., and Gabbay, J. (2004) Putting copper into action: copper
impregnated products with potent biocidal activities. FASEB Journal. 18:
4. Gabbay, J., Mishal, J., Magen, E., Zatcoff, R., Shemer-Avni, Y., and
Borkow, G. (2006) Copper Oxide Impregnated Textiles with Potent Biocidal
Activities. Journal of Industrial Textiles. In press.