ASTM E3160 - 18

    Standard Test Method for Quantitative Evaluation of the Antibacterial Properties of Porous Antibacterial Treated Articles

    Active Standard ASTM E3160 | Developed by Subcommittee: E35.15

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.08


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Porous articles (often textiles) are often treated with antimicrobial agents to reduce the growth of microorganisms during use, in storage, or while waiting to be laundered, or both. Additionally, antimicrobial agents are added to reduce or control the overall microbial growth on porous articles that may affect the material’s odor, visual, chemical or physical integrity, or both.

    5.2 Antimicrobial textile test methods that measure the antimicrobial behavior of treated textiles do exist but they are often specific for one type of antimicrobial agent or are designed to or may artificially (not expected in real life) promote the release of some specific antibacterial agents over others. This test method is designed to be able to measure the antimicrobial activity from all common antimicrobial agents used to treat porous articles, including textiles, without giving either positive or negative bias to one type of chemistry or product over another.

    5.3 In an effort to avoid excessive use or abuse of antimicrobial agents in the environment, it is important to understand if untreated porous articles are susceptible to microbial contamination and growth. In this test method, a small amount of nutrients is added to each test sample in order to promote some microbial growth on susceptible test samples but not enough to overwhelm potential antimicrobial agents that may be effective in real life situations. Furthermore, low levels of nutrients allow investigators to add soiling agents that may be more reflective of a specific treated product’s end use or expected performance.

    5.4 Very specific parameters are identified within this method to limit any variability that may be seen between laboratories. Identifying and clarifying potential variables found in other guides or methods used in the industry will allow for better reproducibility and repeatability between and within laboratories.

    5.5 This test method provides the foundation for conducting tests on porous antibacterial treated articles. Modifications of this method that simulate intended use, durability and compatibility of the treated article should be outlined to ensure an accurate assessment of antimicrobial activity with each particular biocide that substantiates end use claims made for the article. A list of these typical modifications and current test methods for textiles can be found in Guide E2922.

    5.6 This test method is appropriate for porous materials such as textiles, paper, or similar porous materials. It is intended to measure the antibacterial properties of such materials. In most instances, further studies will be required to support and substantiate actual claims being made for the performance of treated materials in practice or as part of a regulatory process.

    5.7 This test method or indicated modifications may be used to determine antimicrobial activity as indicated in 5.6 or may be used as a routine bioassay in standard quality control programs.

    1. Scope

    1.1 To determine the bactericidal or bacteriostatic properties of porous articles treated with an active biocidal agent, samples of porous treated materials, such as textiles or paper, are inoculated with a defined suspension of microorganisms and then incubated. The changes in numbers of the bacterial populations on the treated article are compared with untreated articles either over designated time or they are compared to the initial bacterial population at “zero time” for the treated article to measure antibacterial properties.

    1.2 This test method is used for measuring the quantitative antibacterial activity of porous materials that have been treated with a biocide to inhibit the growth of bacteria on the treated materials. This method may also be used to measure the ability of the treated material to inhibit the growth of a microorganism. It can measure both bactericidal and bacteriostatic activity.

    1.3 This test method shall be performed by individuals experienced and adept in microbiological procedures and in facilities suitable for the handling of the microorganisms under test.

    1.4 This test method may involve hazardous materials, operations, and equipment. This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists) Documents

    AATCC TM100 : Antibacterial Finishes on Textile Materials: Assessment of:

    ASTM Standards

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E1054 Test Methods for Evaluation of Inactivators of Antimicrobial Agents

    E2149 Test Method for Determining the Antimicrobial Activity of Antimicrobial Agents Under Dynamic Contact Conditions

    E2180 Test Method for Determining the Activity of Incorporated Antimicrobial Agent(s) In Polymeric or Hydrophobic Materials

    E2756 Terminology Relating to Antimicrobial and Antiviral Agents

    E2922 Guide for The Use of Standard Test Methods and Practices for Evaluating Antibacterial Activity on Textiles

    IBRG (International Biodeterioration Research Group) Documents

    IBRG TEX13/005/1.0 Quantitative Method for Evaluating Bacterial Activity of Textiles and Porous Material and Articles

    ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Documents

    ISO 20743 Textiles Determination of Antibacterial Activity of Antibacterial Finished Products

    ISO 22196


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 59.080.01 (Textiles in general)

    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/E3160-18

    Citation Format

    ASTM E3160-18, Standard Test Method for Quantitative Evaluation of the Antibacterial Properties of Porous Antibacterial Treated Articles, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

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