Analytical testing of formulation composition
Formulation developing for antimicrobials can be costly and time consuming. Antimicrobial use is strictly regulated, meaning that they must be used only as approved on their EPA registration. The formation and testing of antimicrobial additives can take one of two forms.
- Antimicrobial performance testing of the formulation or finished product (preservation, inhibition, etc.)
- Analytical analysis of the formulation or material specifically measuring the antimicrobial additive.
Biocides are typically organic chemicals, but they can also be composition of organo-metallic compounds, mixtures of compounds, or just metals.
Depending on the chemical nature of the antimicrobial, the appropriate recovery for analytical analysis will change dramatically.
Discovering new uses for existing antimicrobials on the other hand can often reduce the cost and development time.
With many proven additives available, some having over a 50 years of safe and effective use in global industrial and consumer markets, knowing which antimicrobial to use is key.
Existing formulations, combined with an extraordinary range of materials, solutions and additives can be tested to discover new applications.
Often what may work in one industry, through a thorough test program can be shown to be effective for use in another market.
The process involved with performing an analytical analysis on the antimicrobial additive follows 3 general steps (see below).
Step 1 - Analytical Analysis of Antimicrobials - Antimicrobial Properties
Determine the nature of the antimicrobial additive and evaluate the appropriate extraction method(s). Antimicrobial extraction is a critical step, solutions tend to be fairly direct, but solids can have very significant impacts on the extraction of the antimicrobial additive
Step 2 - Extract the Antimicrobial
Extraction of the additive from the bulk material, using a series of mechanic (blending) steps, and/or chemical salvation. Very few antimicrobials can be measured in-situ; typically only antimicrobials of metallic composition.
Step 3 - Antimicrobial Analytical Measurement
Perform an appropriately controlled analytical analysis of the recovered antimicrobial components. Different antimicrobial may need chromatography as part of the measurement, or simply an atomic absorption analysis will be sufficient.
Analytical Testing for Antimicrobials - Challenges
Common Analytical measurement challenges; insufficient recovery from solid materials; poorly calibrated equipment due to residual from the antimicrobial product; insufficient batch for replicate measurements of the antimicrobial treated product
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