How do we measure the antimicrobial performance of a product?

How do we measure the antimicrobial performance of a product?

3 min readPublished On: October 13th, 2016By
3 min readPublished On: October 13th, 2016By
antimicrobial performance

To begin explaining the many methods which can be employed to measure and prove antimicrobial efficacy, it is important to first define what constitutes as ‘antimicrobial’. However, to that question, the industry provides no unequivocal answer, except when the product is shown to have no efficacy against microbes whatsoever. Read on as our Technical Team describes the measures which we employ at BioCote® to confidently state that our partners’ products carry the ‘antimicrobial’ feature.

Employing the appropriate standard testing method

Measuring the antimicrobial performance of a product can be achieved by the straightforward application of the appropriate standard testing method such as ISO 22196. This is of particular importance as using an inappropriate test method may result in a misleading result. This could mean a product is marketed as ‘antimicrobial’ when in reality any antimicrobial performance is actually the outcome of the wrong test being used, rather than the efficacy of the antimicrobial ingredient.

Performance claims

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 microbes by just a single percentage point it can be described and marketed as ‘antimicrobial’.

So, the word ‘antimicrobial’, whilst suggestive of the required performance criterion, is by no means a guarantee of performance or the kind of performance you might expect. Legislation is in place to protect us from misleading claims, but whilst the word ‘antimicrobial’ itself lacks definition in terms of how this relates to performance, it is almost impossible to police. What BioCote® works towards is a clear and defined standard of performance in order to categorise a product as credibly ‘antimicrobial’.

The BioCote® Antimicrobial Performance Standard

At BioCote®, all partner products are assessed for antimicrobial performance prior to launch onto the open market. While no official pass level is in place, BioCote® hold their standards incredible high, only validating products that achieve 95% or higher reduction, higher than most, if not all, antimicrobial providers. Whatever the product, the material it is made from or where it has been manufactured in the world, all BioCote® protected products are required to satisfy this objective. That’s why the BioCote® trademark is recognised around the world as a sign of superior antimicrobial quality.

As an ongoing measure of quality, all BioCote® partners are contractually obligated to subject their products to a program of regular testing. Whilst this is of great reassurance to BioCote® and our partners, it is of most value to the end user: giving them the confidence that what is presented as an antimicrobial product is exactly that – a product that has been tested and proven to demonstrate superior antimicrobial performance.

The need for a universal standard measure of antimicrobial performance

Surprisingly, there is actually very little required of suppliers of products protected by antimicrobial technology in terms of performance and quality control. Whilst there is a need to be able to substantiate any antimicrobial performance claim made and declare what ingredient is being used, there is no statutory requirement for manufacturers to show how antimicrobial the product is, when and how often it is tested and using which method.

The BioCote® brand – A sign of quality and superior antimicrobial performance

At BioCote®, we believe in transparency – any marketing claims made about antimicrobial performance should be accurate, sustainable and provable. Whilst this can create barriers to market for some companies, it does mean the products that do make it to market carrying our trademark can be trusted to deliver superior antimicrobial performance.

BioCote® Antimicrobial Technology in Mental Health Facility Design

Designing environments for mental health facilities requires a specific diligence to focus on creating spaces that are safe, reliable, and low maintenance. This week, BioCote® had the pleasure of attending the Design in Mental Health event, where we connected with our partners who are leading the way in innovative design solutions for these environments.