Microbes. You will have probably noticed that we speak about them an awful lot, particularly when it comes to identifying ways that we can eliminate them! However, we don’t think it’s enough to simply tell you HOW we minimise bacteria, mould and fungi; we also want to communicate WHY we do it and WHAT the benefits are for everyday environments.

The latest hot-topic in the world of Microbiology is the ‘microbiome of the built environment’ (MiBE), mainly due to the economic costs and potential public health issues associated with microbially-contaminated moisture-damaged building materials. This subject has become an extremely good candidate for study and one which BioCote is keen to explore further.

Generally speaking, microbes prefer moist conditions for growth and they are extremely good at extracting nutrients from materials that most other forms of life cannot use as food. This means that, alongside sufficient moisture, microbes are capable of growing on a wide range of solid materials, including those found within buildings.

A recent microbiological study examined over 1,100 visibly damaged building materials with the aim of counting and identifying the microbes involved. The study looked at a range of materials, including wood, paper, non-wooden building board, ceramics, paints, glues and plastics.

The findings revealed that each material type displayed consistent microbial counts, ranging from 10 to 100 million per gram of damaged material, regardless of its environmental conditions. However, perhaps even more interestingly, there were major variances in the amount and types of microbes present on different materials:

  • Penicillium and yeasts: predominant in wood
  • Cladosporium and Stachybotrys: dominated in paper and gypsum materials
  • Acremonium and Aspergillus versicolor: growth supported in ceramics, paints and glues
  • Yeasts and the Sphaeropsidales: detected everywhere

Overall, this study clearly demonstrated that specific microbes are associated with certain materials. It also helped to establish an association between building material types which have been moisture-damaged and the microbes that colonise them.

‘Interesting’, you might say, ‘but how can I prevent the same microbial attacks on my building materials?’ We’re about to tell you…

BioCote antimicrobial technology continuously kills microbes which can afflict any type of building. Our additives have already been manufactured into a range of building materials, including decorative coatings, ceramics, laminates, wood products and plastics, meaning they are shielded from microbial degradation and therefore last longer than their standard counterparts. Our aim is to improve the microbiome of the built-environment, ultimately making it more hygienic by bestowing an ability to resist the negative effects of bacteria, mould and fungi.

Intrigued to learn more about our technology? As well as an experienced team who are always on hand to help with any queries, BioCote also offer free CPD UK seminars for architects and construction professionals which discuss the benefits of an antimicrobial environment and how it can be achieved. Give us a call on +44 (0) 2477 712 489 or email us at [email protected] to find out more.