A joint team of CAS Institute of Applied Physics in Shanghai and the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing used graft polymerisation of vinylimidazol to a cotton fabric to obtain a textile which showed strong antimicrobial activity. The effect is considered due to interactions among the positively charged imidazole ring and the negatively charged bacterial cell membranes which leads to electrostatic attraction and insertion of the hydrophobic substituents into the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane, leading to rupture and bacterial cell death. The effect was validated with S. aureus, Acinetobacter and C. albicans and kept on after washing the textile 150 times.

CAS news release, August 16, 2016