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USDA Research Enables Total Quaternary Ammonium Salts Release From Cotton Nonwoven Disinfecting Wipes

New technology could broaden cotton wipes’ role in surface care applications.

In an article By Dr. Brian Condon, Research Leader, Cotton Chemistry and Utilization, USDA Agricultural Research Service & Keith Osteen, Principal, Smith, Johnson & Associates in the January 2014 issue of Nonwovens Industry, a USDA research team, under the direction of Dr. Brian Condon, has demonstrated the mechanism of cationic biocide binding in cotton-based disinfection wipes and developed a functional prototype formulation. The formulation was targeted to be as close as possible to conventionally used commercial formulations with EPA-friendly, simple chemistry modifications. Work is underway to further quantify wipe disinfection performance in a laboratory setting through the teamwork of the USDA and Cotton Incorporated.
Further formulation optimization specific to application and industry company formulation preferences, and EPA approval are important next steps. Nonionic surfactants are commonly used in quat-based disinfection formulations and can aid in surface tension reduction and micelle delivery and absorption to the cell walls of microbes. Care is needed, however, to avoid quat activity reduction from nonionic surfactants related to the micellular formation.