Antimicrobial, starch based barrier coatings prepared using mixed silver/sodium exchanged bentonite
The effect of silver nitrate concentration, pre-washed bentonite (to remove extraneous salt) and back-exchange procedures have been explored to assess the type of silver species formed and their behaviour upon exposure to further salts. X-ray fluorescence was used to quantify the amount of silver present and whether in cation exchange sites, whereas X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy identified the silver compounds present. A further objective was to assess the antimicrobial, barrier and dispersion properties of the silver/sodium bentonites when incorporated into a starch-plasticiser-clay coating used for packaging. The silver/sodium bentonites demonstrated very strong antimicrobial activity towards Escherichia coli, Kocuria rhizophila and Aspergillus niger. Incorporating just 0.03 wt% of silver/sodium bentonite in the coating (0.2 mmol/m2 Ag in dried coating with thickness of 14 mm) produced a > 4.4 log reduction against an initial loading of 2.1 × 105 CFU/object for E. coli. Water vapour barrier properties of coatings prepared on paper and containing the mixed silver/sodium bentonite were unaffected since water vapour transmission rate values of ~20-40 g/m2.day (23°C, 50% relative humidity) were maintained. Also the presence of silver did not adversely affect the clay dispersion. The Ag+ release profile from mixed silver/sodium clay upon addition of HNO3 and NaNO3 is discussed.