Pre-commercial lines for production of surface nanostructured antimicrobial and anti-biofilm textiles, medical devices and water treatment membranes


Health-care associated infections (HAIs), or infections acquired in health-care facilities, affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide each year. They are a major financial issue for the European health-care system and were recognised as a global threat associated with medical care. The alarming statistics show that 1 in 10 patients develop infection in the hospital. About 400 000 of the HAIs are caused by antibiotic-resistant strains, estimated to cause economic loss in Europe of more than € 1.5 billion.

Microbial biofilms are the reason for 80% of all infections currently treated in the hospitals. When established on catheters, heart valves, implants, and intrauterine devices the biofilms usually cause severe chronic infection and dysfunction of the device. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are the most frequent HAI worldwide that account for over 40% of all nosocomial infections. They are a global health issue that delays the patient’s recovery and significantly increases health-care costs, length of antibiotic therapy and risk of resistance development.

Microbiologically unsafe water is a global problem and among the major causes of preventable morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that by 2025 half of the world’s population will be living in water scarcity areas with access only to inadequate drinking water leading to bacteria waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever. Annually 2.2 million diarrheal disease deaths are being linked with the consumption of contaminated water. The extreme rainfall and flooding, as a result of the global warming, contribute to the microbial proliferation in surface and groundwater.

Antibiotic resistance is a worldwide problem. The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria is one of the most serious health threats nowadays. Efforts to prevent such threat are based on infection control in hospital and public settings and prevention of person-to-person spread.

As a part of the public health strategy against the microbial infections, PROTECT will develop a versatile platform of 3 pre-commercial lines for production of antimicrobial textiles for hospitals and public areas, and anti-biofilm medical devices and water treatment membranes.

These production lines will share as a common feature the use of high intensity ultrasound (US) in 3 different machinery designs:

  • continuous roll-to-roll (R2R) US coating,
  • continuous R2R spray coating with US nozzles, and
  • batch mode (non-continuous) US coating.



For the manufacturers of antimicrobial products:

  • A single step antimicrobial and anti-biofilm nano-functionalisation of the products
  • Low-cost, sustainable and safe coating processes and products
  • Novel in situ monitoring and quality control of nano-functionalisation processes/products
  • Low environmental footprint and prolonged lifecycle of the products

For the health-care providers and patients:

  • Highly efficient antimicrobial and anti-biofilm products
  • Novel efficient and safe nano-antimicrobials as an alternative to the obsolete antibiotics
  • Reduce incidence and transmittance of bacterial infections


Previous Projects

PROTECT stems from two previous FP7 projects:

  • Novel approaches for prevention and degeneration of pathogenic bacteria biofilms formed on medical devices e.g. catheters (NOVO)
  • A pilot line of antibacterial and antifungal medical textiles based on a sonochemical process (SONO)