Did you know that one of the most antimicrobial extracts comes from an acorn byproduct? Other plant extracts such as rose, echinacea, chestnut blossom and eucalyptus also stand out. What happens? Kill bacteria and viruses like SARS-Cov2. In line with the circular economy and the importance of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, the PLANTCOVID consortium has created a clean technology, which uses plant compounds derived from agriculture, which allows textiles to last longer, reducing the need for washing and eliminating bad odors produced by microorganisms that live “naturally” on this type of substrate, the consortium explains in a statement.
Miguel Marques Pinto, Chief Science Officer of Next Generation Chemistry, explains that “the goal of the consortium was to research, develop, test in a laboratory environment and produce on a pilot scale one (or more) compounds of plant origin capable of inactivating the SARS-Cov2, and a collection of bacteria and fungi harmful to human health.”
In this sense, “more than 15 species of plants grown in Portugal were identified and tested”. After optimizing the extraction procedures for each plant, the extracts were characterized for their antimicrobial activity. “Several extracts with high antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity against the SARS-Cov2 virus were identified,” explains Miguel Marques Pinto. The team concluded that one of the extracts with the greatest antimicrobial activity comes from a by-product of local agriculture, acorn. “Other plant extracts like rose, echinacea, chestnut blossom and eucalyptus also stand out,” she adds.
“PLANTCOVID has always been concerned about the sustainability and circularity of the raw materials used and the processes to obtain new extracts and commercial prototypes,” says Manuela Pintado, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Good Chemistry at the Catholic University of Portugal.
Miguel Marques Pinto emphasizes that “the product is not toxic to human health and has a performance similar to the compounds, derived from petrochemical synthesis, currently on the market and which we intend to replace”. “We have tested the permanence of the compound on the fabric – simulating household washing – and the compound is resistant to washing. The most obvious applications are in home textiles – sheets and bath towels,” he concludes.
The PLANTCOVID consortium includes the company Next Generation Chemistry (Porto), the Higher School of Biotechnology of the Catholic University of Portugal (Porto), the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança and the João Lobo Antunes Institute of Molecular Medicine.