PREXELENT™ Technology Fights Harmful Microbes – Huge Opportunities for Partners Ready to Benefit

May 11, 2020

Antimicrobial plastics have long been under development, with the aim of solving serious problems in areas such as healthcare and food hygiene. Developed and patented by Premix, PREXELENT antimicrobial technology introduces a new perspective and opens huge business opportunities for innovative companies.

What is PREXELENT about, how is it manufactured, what is it based on, and what is its importance? What makes PREXELENT revolutionary?

PREXELENT-Antimicrobial-granules

Photo: Peter Forsgård

In short, PREXELENT is a new, active antimicrobial technology that combines an active antimicrobial agent and plastic to create a new kind of material. The technology’s effectiveness against microbes has been comprehensively verified in tests and measurements commissioned by external research institutes.

The huge social and practical value of PREXELENT consists of its promotion of hygiene and reduction of the problems and threats caused by harmful microbes, such as mold, salmonella, listeria, and MRSA. The technology can be quickly deployed at a moderate cost, as it is compatible with machining methods and existing production equipment and processes for thermoplastics.

Active antimicrobial agent processed into plastic and released in a controlled manner

In technical terms, PREXELENT concerns a new so-called melt compounding process, in which an active antimicrobial agent is processed straight into plastic. Premix's customers can further process the resulting material - in the same way as plastics in general, including injection molding or extrusion - into different shapes.

Essential in PREXELENT is the controlled release of the active agent to the plastic’s surface, where it has the most effect. Both the timing and quantity of the agent’s release can be controlled depending on the application. The antimicrobial properties are activated by humidity or liquid.

Inspired by resin

PREXELENT Pine tree resin active agent Prexelent technology PremixPREXELENT technology was inspired by a Finnish natural product, resin. The antimicrobial properties of resin have been known for millennia, and its benefits and mechanism were scientifically proven in the early 2000s. A PhD dissertation published in 2013 by Arno Sipponen, Doctor of Medical Science, showed that coniferous resin destroys microbes and inhibits their growth.

The antibacterial nature of resin is based on its resin acids, which destroy the cell walls or hamper the energy metabolism of bacteria. Resin acids are antibacterial and effective against bacteria such as MRSA, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, and listeria bacteria.

In 2016, Doctor of Science Ville Mylläri, currently Product Manager at Premix, initiated a Tekes Challenge Finland project in which processing of pine tree resin with thermoplastics was studied. PREXELENT was created, when the initial results of the Tekes project were boosted with Premix’s ability to modify plastics.

Previously, attempts have been made to exploit the antimicrobial properties of resin, but usually by coating the surface or structure of polymeric products. In PREXELENT, resin is processed directly into plastic so that it migrates to the surface and is effective in a controlled manner.

As PREXELENT uses tall oil rosin made as a side stream of pulp mills, it provides an opportunity to process a by-product into useful and valuable end products. Additionally, many other natural protectants and artificial raw materials, such as preservatives, can serve as active agents instead of resin.

Due to resin’s high decomposition temperature of around 230 degrees, it is suitable as an active ingredient in many commodity and technical plastics. These include e.g. PE, PP, PA, and PLA plastics, as well as starch-based bioplastics. Technical and special plastics with a high melting point, such as PET or PEEK, require different active agents.

Applications range from primary production to food and healthcare

PREXELENT could be widely used in a range of applications in which the common denominator is the need to fight harmful microbes. Different combinations of active agents and polymers can be used to develop precision solutions for various applications.

A large area of application is the food production value chain, where PREXELENT can help to solve global problems by improving safety in primary production, extending shelf life and reducing spoilage. Interesting applications include facilities and activities requiring a high level of cleanliness, such as in healthcare.

Most probably, the first commercial applications of PREXELENT will relate to primary production. In areas such as food packaging, or in the soles of agricultural footwear, PREXELENT could fight the harm caused by molds or other microbes, such as salmonella, and reduce the need to use antibiotics or other substances harmful to the environment.

Fast benefits – industrial-scale development projects underway

PREXELENT-Antimicrobial-granules-factory

Photo: Peter Forsgård

The key asset of PREXELENT and advantage for manufacturers is rapid usability. The technology is compatible with machining methods and existing production equipment and processes for thermoplastics. This makes deployment possible with reasonable investments.

The patented PREXELENT antimicrobial technology is ripe for further development into new export products. That is why Premix is inviting partners from a range of sectors to begin industrial-scale development projects with us. Most of all, we are looking for partners who understand the added value that the technology’s properties could bring to their own products or are looking for opportunities for new business.

Global commercial success based on PREXELENT, and cooperation with Premix, are within your reach.

Is your company interested in becoming a pioneer and the first to benefit from PREXELENT? Contact us with the form below or read more about the technology!

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