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The AgION® antimicrobial coating inhibits the growth of bacteria, molds, fungi and other microbes through the release of silver (Ag) ions. The controlled release of silver ions provides continuous antimicrobial protection for the product for the life of the coating. AgION antimicrobial-coated steel is available from AK Coatings, Inc., a subsidiary of AK Steel Corporation.

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How It Affects Microbes
Silver ions are released from the coating, come in contact with microbes and the microbes are inhibited. Researchers at numerous universities and facilities1 have presented findings for ionic silver's antimicrobial mechanism, a simplified version of which follows: Monovalent or ionic silver (silver with a +1 charge) has an affinity for hydrogen ions, joining with them on the sulfhydryl groups present in microbes, disrupting electron transfer and respiration in bacteria and other microbes. Other non-ionic forms of silver employ other, equally effective mechanisms, such as catalyzing the interaction of atomic oxygen (O) with the sulfhydryl group resulting in an OH molecule and a sulfur bond that prevents further respiration within the microbe.

Coating Life and Application
The coating life is a function of the application and surface wear, but could average between 10-30 years depending on the thickness of the coating and the wear it receives.

The AgION antimicrobial compound is blended into a polymer resin. The polymer resin is applied to steel using a conventional coil coating process. The AgION antimicrobial coating is available as a clear paint system or a tinted system.

Although silver is a powerful antimicrobial agent, an AgION antimicrobial coating is not intended as a substitute for good hygiene. Coated products must still be cleaned to ensure the surfaces will be free of destructive microbes.


1A small sample of research and articles supporting the efficacy of silver as an antimicrobial agent follow: R. Thurman & C. Gerba (1989) The Molecular Mechanisms of Copper and Silver Ion Disinfection of Bacteria and Viruses CRC Crit Rev Envir Control 18, 295-315.

Nakamura, S. and Ogura, Y. (1968) Mode of inhibition of glucose oxidase by metal ions, Journal of Biochemistry (Tokyo), 64, 439-447, cited by Carson and Smith, 1975.

Evidence for the role of copper in the injury process of coliform bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology vol. 48/2. August 1984.

S D Brown. Investigation into the suitability of using water ionized with copper and silver to treat E.Coli infection in slaughtering house. 1998. Cranfield Biotechnology Centre. M. Sc. Thesis.

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