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May 9, 2007

Pesticidal Clothing on the Way?

Lynn L. Bergeson

An undergraduate fashion design student, a fiber science professor, and a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University in New York have teamed up to design what may very well be the world’s first garment “that can prevent colds and flu.” According to a May 1, 2007, news release, the three collaborators produced a dress from cotton fabrics that had been coated with silver nanoparticles. Silver, of course, is a well-known antimicrobial. Cotton fibers were positively charged through the use of ammonium- and epoxy-based reactions, while silver nanoparticles were synthesized in citric acid to hinder nanoparticle agglomeration. “Dipping the positively charged cotton into the negatively charged silver nanoparticle solution resulted in the particles clinging to the cotton fibers.” Assistant Professor Juan Hinestroza points out, though, that a single square yard of the nano-treated cotton would cost about $10,000.