The purpose of this research work was to develop a textile finish based on the radical UV-curing of chitosan on textiles to confer antimicrobial properties. Chitosan is a biopolymer with unique properties such as biodegradability, non-toxicity, antimicrobial activity. In this work cotton
or silk fabrics and synthetic filter fabrics were impregnated with an acid solution of chitosan added of the photoinitiator in the proper amount and cured at room temperature by exposure to UV lamp. Process conditions such as percentage add-on, dilution, chitosan-fabric contact time, irradiation
time and power, were optimized. The antimicrobial activity of finished fabrics was tested according to ASTM E 2149-01 standard test performed with Escherichia Coli ATCC 8739. Moreover dyeing test with Turquoise Telon dye were carried out to evaluate the treatment homogeneity while the amino
group content was determined by ninhydrin assay. Moreover on cotton and silk fabrics the treatment fastness to domestic laundering was tested, according to UNI EN ISO105-C01. Obtained results showed a strong antimicrobial activity conferred by the treatment, homogeneous on fabric surface.
It is evident already at low add-on, without affecting the hand properties of natural fabrics and the filtration characteristics of the synthetic filter fabrics. Finally, washing fastness was better for samples prepared with a better penetration of chitosan inside the fibers.
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