Antimicrobial technology FAQ’s

Everything you need to know

About BioCote®

What does it mean?

Are all BioCote® antimicrobial additives based on silver?

BioCote® offers a comprehensive range of antimicrobial additives which utilise many different active ingredients. This means we have a solution for every possible customer application. Actives include silver, zinc and organics such as phenolic biocides, quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC or QUAT) and fungicides (IPBC). You can rely on BioCote® to supply you with the most appropriate antimicrobial additive for your product. 

What sort of bacteria does BioCote® antimicrobial technology work against?

BioCote® antimicrobial technology has been extensively tested against and proven to reduce the presence of the most common bacteria, even antibiotic resistant strains, such as MRSA, E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and Listeria to name but a few. These bacterial species are generally found in and around places such as our own homes, hospitals, restaurants, offices or schools. 

Are BioCote® antimicrobial additives safe?

Yes, we only supply antimicrobial additives that have the necessary global regulatory approvals and are application appropriate. BioCote® has achieved FDA and EFSA approval and offers additives that have been proven safe for direct food and water contact (HACCP International accreditation). 

How fast acting is BioCote®?

Not as quick as cleaning chemicals, but on a BioCote® protected antimicrobial product, you can expect significant reductions in microbes in just 15 minutes and up to 99% in just two hours. Whilst cleaning chemicals may be quick, their effects are short-lived. In comparison, integrated BioCote® antimicrobial technology works constantly and long term to make products more hygienic. 

How long will BioCote® antimicrobial protection last?

At BioCote®, we believe that if a product is marketed as having antimicrobial properties it should undoubtedly have them, and not only when first purchased, but for its expected functional lifetime. BioCote® technology does not wash off, wear away, degrade or run out of steam. We do not supply additives that leach or actively leave the product they are being used to protect. What’s more, our technology has been proven effective for up to 25 years. 

How effective is BioCote® antimicrobial protection?

Very. BioCote® antimicrobial protection is effective against a wide range of microbes, including multi drug resistant strains of bacteria, mould and fungi. Working without an off switch, BioCote® technology has achieved an 86% reduction in microbes in only 15 minutes and a 99.99% reduction in 24 hours. 

Will BioCote® antimicrobial additives change my product or the way it is manufactured?

BioCote® antimicrobial additives are compatible with a wide range of materials and manufacturing processes. They are formulated to deliver outstanding antimicrobial performance without changing the products appearance or mechanical properties in any way. We tailor our additive recommendations to our customers’ unique manufacturing process to ensure a smooth, seamless introduction of antimicrobial product feature. 

What materials can be protected with BioCote® antimicrobial technology?

We pride ourselves on our ability to treat any material – polymers, general industrial paints (wet & powder), natural and man-made fabrics, as well as a whole range of speciality coatings and inks. 

Premium quality antimicrobial additives at low addition rates means BioCote® can be added economically and your new product feature does not become cost prohibitive. 

Will BioCote® antimicrobial products need cleaning?

Although BioCote® antimicrobial products reduce microbes on the surface by design, cleaning is still important as BioCote® will not remove dirt. BioCote®’s microbe-killing properties mean that while products stay hygienically cleaner for longer, good cleaning practises are still required. Dirt, grease and oil can stop our technology reaching the microbes on the surface, so it is important these contaminants are cleaned away. BioCote® is not a substitute for good cleaning practises. 

Do BioCote® antimicrobial products have to be treated differently?

No, they can be used as you would any other non-antimicrobial product. The inclusion of BioCote® antimicrobial protection demands no special treatment or usage considerations. This also applies to how the products are cleaned as they do not require any special cleaning techniques or chemicals either. 

Will BioCote® antimicrobial technology stop cross-contamination?

No. While BioCote® technology cannot eliminate cross-contamination altogether, it can significantly reduce the potential for and the risks that come with microbial cross-contamination from one product surface to another.  

Does BioCote® antimicrobial technology create resistant strains of bacteria?

There is no evidence of BioCote® technology causing antibacterial resistance. In fact, BioCote® has been proven effective against an increasingly long list of multi drug resistant bacteria. With a high requirement for approval, BioCote® limits resistance to our product by reducing the number of microbes that can survive contact. 

 

About Antimicrobial Technology

What does it mean?

What types of antimicrobials are there?

Many substances can be described as antimicrobial such as disinfectants, sanitisers, antibiotics, and of course in-built antimicrobial additives. 

Are all antimicrobials the same?

There are many kinds of antimicrobials, each with a specific function. Some examples of ‘an antimicrobial’ include antibiotics that you take while you’re ill or an antibacterial soap you wash your hands with. Whilst these antimicrobials may perform a similar function, they are all very different to the technologies BioCote® supply.  

BioCote® additives are formulated to be introduced to materials during the manufacture to give that material ‘built-in’ antimicrobial properties. The protection is permanent and will last the expected functional lifetime of the product – it may even extend it. 

What’s the difference between antimicrobial and antibacterial?

An antimicrobial is effective against a wide spectrum of microbes: this includes bacteria, mould, fungi and even viruses. An antibacterial, on the other hand, is only effective against bacteria. 

What is an antimicrobial product?

By definition, an antimicrobial product is a product which contains an active ingredient that protects the product itself from microbial growth. From a legal perspective, products with integrated antimicrobial properties are known as ‘treated articles’. The products that BioCote® customers make have a primary function – a chair to sit on or a phone case to protect a phone – any antimicrobial property is secondary and is there to enhance how the product does what it is primarily designed to do and to protect the product from damage caused by microbes. 

Are all antimicrobial products the same?

There are many different kinds of antimicrobials, each with a specific function. Some examples of ‘an antimicrobial’ include antibiotics that you take while you’re ill or an antibacterial soap you wash your hands with. Whilst these antimicrobials may perform a similar function, they are all very different to the technologies BioCote® supply. If you were to add a penicillin to plastics when moulding a water bottle, it is unlikely to deliver any kind of hygienic protection. 

BioCote® additives are formulated to be introduced to materials, such as plastic or coatings, during the manufacture to give that material ‘built-in’ antimicrobial properties. The protection is permanent and will certainly last the expected functional lifetime of the product – it may even extend it. 

How do you measure whether a product has antimicrobial properties or not?

The best measure of whether a product demonstrates antimicrobial properties is to test it against industry standardised tests, such as ISO 22196 when testing a polymer or impermeable material. BioCote® works with an independent UK based microbiology laboratory to ensure the test results and performance data we provide our clients with are credible and bulletproof.  

How antimicrobial does a product need to be to be considered antimicrobial?

Whilst there are many tests to measure antimicrobial performance, it is rare that the test method sets a performance requirement that a product must achieve for it to be described as thus. This means that if a product reduces the presence of bacteria by just a single percentage point it can be described and marketed as ‘antimicrobial’. 

While no official pass level is in place, BioCote® hold their standards incredible high, only validating products that achieve over 95% reduction, higher than most, if not all, antimicrobial providers. That’s why the BioCote® trademark is recognised around the world as a sign of superior antimicrobial quality. 

Are antimicrobial fabrics safe?

We have a wide portfolio of additives that are suitable for use in fabrics. These additives will have been tested and approved in ordered to be used in these materials. Therefore, any fabric treated with BioCote® technology can be considered safe. 

Can antimicrobials kill bacteria?

Yes, as part of a wide range of microbes BioCote® technology can kill, our antimicrobial additives have demonstrated efficacy against a broad spectrum of bacteria too. 

What is an antimicrobial coating?

Coatings are applied in a variety of different ways for different purposes. Gloss/matte finishes, paints, inks to high performance coatings such as the ones with scratch resistant properties can all be considered coatings. These coatings can be considered antimicrobial coatings if an antimicrobial agent has been added to protect the coating. Antimicrobial agents are typically added to resist damage from microbes which can cause e. g. staining or weakening of the coating. 

 

About Antimicrobial Additives

What does it mean?

What types of antimicrobial additives are there?

BioCote® offers a comprehensive range of antimicrobial additives which utilise many different active ingredients. This means we have a solution for every possible customer application. Actives include silver, zinc and organics such as phenolic biocides, quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC or QUAT) and fungicides (IPBC).  

What are the benefits of antimicrobial additives?

Antimicrobial additives enhance the performance of a surface by imbuing it with lasting antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. This enables manufacturers to offer products that are cleaner and more hygienic to use, giving them an instant competitive advantage.

What materials can an antimicrobial additive be manufactured into?

Antimicrobial additives can be manufactured into a wide range of materials including plastics, polymers, paints, coatings, textiles and ceramics – take a look at our broad range of partners to see just how many companies from a plethora of different sectors are utilising our antibacterial technology. BioCote® has an appropriate formulation for every material type and can accommodate your antimicrobial requirements to suit the designated market territories and desired end use of your product.

What are the benefits of incorporating an antimicrobial additive into a product or surface?

Antimicrobial additives enhance the performance of a surface by imbuing it with lasting antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. This enables manufacturers to offer products that are cleaner and more hygienic to use, giving them an instant competitive advantage.

 

About Taggants

What does it mean?

What is a taggant?

The taggant is blended in with the antimicrobial additive by BioCote®, meaning that when the antimicrobial additive is added into a client’s product at manufacturing stage, the taggant will automatically be added as well. The antimicrobial additive can be supplied in both, powder or pellet form with any of the products we offer.

How does the taggant work?

The taggant consists of micro-colour code particles, which are invisible to the naked eye without the use of a fluorescent detector. The micro-colour code particles act as a “fingerprint” for the antimicrobial additive in a product, providing clients with the guarantee that the antimicrobial technology is integrated. It also provides protection from fraud and piracy as products can be clearly identified. The micro-colour code particles are so small that they can only be detected under a microscope and would require specialist equipment to be altered or replicated.

Does integrating a taggant change the performance of the antimicrobial additive?

The manufacturing process is the same as incorporating a non-taggant antimicrobial, and the performance of the antimicrobial additive remains unchanged. The taggant simply gives the antimicrobial product its own identifiable marker.

How do you confirm that taggant and antimicrobial additives are integrated?

When a taggant is present, it can be picked up with a taggant detector, a small hand-held device, which gives off either an acoustic or fluorescent signal. Since the only source of taggant is from the antimicrobial additive, the proof of taggant presence is synonymous with the presence of antimicrobial technology.

What are the benefits of using a taggant?

Integrating antimicrobial additives will not affect the final look and feel of products, which means protected products can’t be distinguished visually from a non-protected product. The taggant offers an additional way of showing customers that products have been treated and therefore allowing them to make informed decisions when choosing products.

Not only does a taggant provide a confirmation that antimicrobial additives are present within a product, it can also provide legal protection in cases of product liability. Courts have been shown to allow the use of taggants as decisive evidence in those cases. In addition to this, border control systems have also used taggant scanners to test for the presence of taggants, protecting products from threats of counterfeiting and fraud.