Work Item
ASTM WK66122

New Test Method for Measuring the Ability of a Synthetic Polymeric Material to Resist Bacterial Adherence

1. Scope

1.1 This method is designed to evaluate (quantitatively) the number of bacteria attached to the flat, two-dimensional surfaces of synthetic polymeric materials and polymeric coatings on various substrates that may or may not contain bound or incorporated anti-adherent agents. The method focuses on assessing the ability of the surface to reduce bacterial attachment. Other microorganisms such as yeast and fungal conidia may be tested using this method.

1.2 Include in this section the system of units to be used. Refer to the above ASTM Standards Units toolbar button for a dropdown menu of ASTM’s Form and Style Manual statements.

1.3 This method quantitatively determines the differences in bacterial adherence seen between synthetic polymeric surfaces that allow bacterial adherence and those that do not, comparing the number of organisms recovered from the control surface to the number recovered from the test specimen surface after the contact time. Knowledge of microbiological techniques is required for these procedures.

1.4 This method specifies proper methods for measuring the ability of a synthetic polymeric material to resist adherence against specified organism. Due to individual sensitivities, the result of one test organism might not be applicable for other organisms.

1.5 This method is designed to measure the potential ability to resist bacterial adherence of a non-porous surface compared directly to a polyester control panel known to support bacterial adherence under specific testing conditions.

1.6 Antimicrobial treated non-porous surfaces may demonstrate ability to resist bacterial adherence in this method. This method does not purport to differentiate between anti-adherence and antimicrobial activity nor is it designed to reflect specific end-use or environmental conditions. Any product that demonstrates ability to resist bacterial adherence in this method should be measured for antimicrobial activity using a separate test technique such as test method E2180 or ISO 22196.

1.7 The method focuses on assessing the ability of the synthetic polymeric materials and polymeric coatings on various substrates to reduce bacterial attachment. The specimen with absorbing or adhesive surfaces may not be able to disinfected properly before testing, or may trap inoculated organism during recovery process and lead to a false result. This method does not apply to specimens with absorbent or adhesive surfaces.

1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.9 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 and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


Germ-Repellent; plastic; polymer; percent bacterial reduction; quantitative antibacterial assay


Synthetic polymeric materials, used in packaging for food containers, personal care products and other items, may have inherent antimicrobial properties. Others may contain antimicrobial additives. Many methods, such as ASTM E 2180 are used to determine quantitative bacterial reductions caused by these additives. ASTM E3151 specifically examines the ability of tubular, yarn and fiber specimens to resist bacterial colonization/adherence. However, these methods do not quantitatively measure the number of viable bacteria adhering to the flat surfaces of these synthetic polymeric materials, as measured in this method.

The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.


Developed by Subcommittee: E35.15

Committee: E35

Staff Manager: Brian Milewski

Work Item Status

Date Initiated: 12-05-2018

Technical Contact: Chris Wu