A University of Georgia researcher says he has invented an antimicrobial technology that can make any material, either natural or synthetic, permanently germ-free.

The anti-microbial treatment can be applied to textiles such as lab coats and bed linens, as well as medical or dental instruments made out of metal or plastic.

It could be catnip to healthcare environments like nursing homes, where harmful micro-organisms can proliferate.

Jason Locklin, Ph.D., an assistant professor of chemistry in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, invented the treatment, which can be applied during the manufacturing process. Unlike other antimicrobial technologies, he says, it does not wash out or require re-applying. He noted that the technology has been tested against several pathogens typically found in healthcare settings, such as staph, strep, E. coli, pseudomonas and acetinobacter.

“The advantage of UGARF’s technology over competing methods is that the permanent antimicrobial can be applied to a product at any point of the manufacture-sale-use continuum,” said Gennaro Gama, Ph.D., a UGA colleague of Locklin’s. “In contrast, competing technologies require blending of the antimicrobial in the manufacturing process.”

Locklin and his team published a paper on the technology online in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society. The anti-microbial treatment is available for licensing  from the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.