Introduction

Textiles have always played a central role in the evolution of human culture by being at the forefront of both technological and artistic development. The protective aspects of textiles have provided the ground for innovative developments, (Aswini et al 2010). Textiles have such an important bearing on our daily lives that everyone needs to know something about them. From earliest times, people have used textiles of various types for covering, warmth, personal adornment, and even to display personal wealth. Today, textiles are still used for these purposes and everyone is an ultimate consumer, (Singh 2008). The consumers are now increasingly aware of the hygienic life style, and there is necessity and expectation for a wide range of textile products finished with antimicrobial properties, (Ramachandran et al 2004).


"Consumers are looking for solution to odour and microbial problem and the unique benefits provided by antimicrobial problem and the unique benefits provided by antimicrobial finish" (Aswini et al, 2010). The name textile finishing covers an extremely wide range of activities, which are performed on textiles before they reach the final customer. Many natural dyes obtained from various plants are known to have antimicrobial properties, (Ramasamy et al 2011).


However, all finishing to increase the attractiveness or serviceability of the textile product, (Horrocks et al 2000). Originally the word "textiles" meant "simply woven fabric" the meaning has changed over the years and the word is now used more generally, (Thomas 2012).


Bacteria are unicellular organisms, which grow very rapidly under warmth and moisture. Sub divisions in the bacteria family are Gram positive (Staphylococcus Aureus), Gram negative (E.coli), spore bearing or non-spore bearing type. The growth of microbes on textiles during use and storage negatively affects the wearer as well as the textile itself, (Zahid Zaheer et al 2010). Clothing normally used is prone to microbial attack because of higher amount of surface area and presence of moisture, (Kavitha et al 2007). Obnoxious smell from the inner garments, spread of diseases, staining in textiles and degradation of clothing are detrimental effects of bad microbes. Though the use of antimicrobials have been known for decades, it is only in the recent couple of years that attempts have been made on finishing textiles with antimicrobial compounds. Antimicrobial textiles with improved functionality find a variety of applications such as health and hygiene products, specially the garments worn close to the skin and several medical applications, such as infection control and barrier material, (Joshi et al 2009).


Antimicrobials of plant origin have enormous therapeutic potential. They are effective in the treatment of infectious diseases, while simultaneously mitigating many of the side effects that are often associated with synthetic antimicrobials. Researchers are increasingly turning their attention to the medicinal plants and it is estimated that, plant materials are present in or have provided the models for 25-50% western drugs.

 

  • To determine the antimicrobial effect of Mint stem.
  • To optimise and evaluate the parameters for antimicrobial finishing.
  • To treat the cotton fabric with selected source and evaluation

Materials and Methods


Selection of Source

The Mint Stem is collected from the local market. The stems were cleaned, washed and dried under shade. The dried stems were powdered.

Methods of Extraction

A total of 30g of Mint stem powder was weighted and taken in a soxhlet tube. A little cotton is inserted in the extraction tube and above the cotton, mint stem powder is added. 300ml of ethanol solvent is added in the bottom flask of soxhlet extractor. Then the soxhlet temperature is set to 40° C and the extractor is switched on, the process is carried out for 24 hours. This process is repeated five times.


2.3 Antimicrobial Activity Assessment

Petri plates containing 50ml Nutrient Agar solution and streaked within 24 hours culture of E.coli and S.aureus bacterial strains. The petri-plates were also sterilised in hot air oven at 110°C for 10 minutes. Then the fabric was treated with Mint stem extract is placed on petri-plates. The plates were then incubated at 37°C for 24 hours. The antibacterial activity was assayed by measuring the diameter of the inhibition zone formed around the fabric. (Plate VII, VIII, IX)


The 50ml of Sabouraud's Dextrose Agar was prepared in a conical flask and sterilised in autoclave for 30 minutes. The petri-plates were also sterilised in hot air oven at 110°C for 10 minutes. Then 25ml of Sabouraud's Dextrose Agar was poured into each of the plates and allowed to solidify. After solidification the plates were streaked parallel with C.albicans fungi strains. Then a small piece of fabric treated with Mint stem and untreated fabric were placed above the streaked plates. The plates were kept at room temperature for three days. After three days, the antifungal activity was assayed by measuring the diameter of the inhibition zone formed around the fabric.


Fabric Treatment with Mint Stem Extract


Ultrasonic Automiser

Wide Track ultrasonic spray systems apply performance for textile finishing's, including flame retardant coatings, water and oil repellent coatings, anti-microbial, and anti-stain finishes. Ultrasonic spray replaces inefficient dip or padding methods with uniform thin film ultrasonic textile coatings. Wide Track systems are designed to fully integrate with existing manufacturing lines, and have been proven worldwide in high volume textile manufacturing. Therefore Ultrasonic Automiser was used for finishing on cotton fabric. A small amount of solvent was passed through the Ultrasonic Automiser sprayer tube for cleaning the tube. After that the Mint stem extract is filled in the beaker of the Ultrasonic Automiser. Then the extract is pumped and passed through the sprayer finally the mint stem extract is sprayed evenly on to the fabric. Then the fabric is dried in shade.


Padding Mangle

In order to obtain consistent chemical application, the nip pressure should be uniform across the fabric width. The solution level and temperature in the pad should be constant and the fabric speed should not vary throughout the application process (Schindler et al., 2004). The finishing solution was prepared by mixing the solvent extract (20 ml/l) with liquor ratio 1:80. The cotton fabric was placed in the finishing solution and there for 20 minutes. Then the fabric was taken out and padded in the padding mangle with 80 per cent wet pick up to get an even distribution of finishing and was then air dried at room temperature. The wet pick up or per cent expression was calculated as follows:



Where W= weight of the fabric after padding, and W= weight of the fabric before padding (Kim, 2011).

Finishes are often pad applied to dyed or printed fabrics after a drying step. In this method, dry fabric was passed through the chemical finish solution and the process was called 'wet on dry' process. The wet pickup of a chemical solution in a pad mangle is influenced by many factors such as fabric characteristics machine settings or emulsion properties.


Dip Dry

The fabric was dipped into the extraction solution for 30 minutes. After that the dipped fabric was taken out and dried in the shade.


Results and Discussion

The general appearance of the fabric was excellent in the entire sample. The texture of the fabric was rated as soft. The brilliancy of colour was medium. Evenness of the fabric was also rated to be even. Fabric weight and thickness of the fabric increased in all sample. The strength in warp and weft direction increased irrespectively. Elongation of the fabric decreased in both warp and weft direction. The abrasion resistance of the fabric increased in the entire sample after treatment. Treated sample showed slight and no pilling. Stiffness of the fabric increased in both warp and weft direction. The crease recovery increased gradually in warp and reduced in weft direction of the entire samples. Drapability of the fabric improved in the finished sample. Wicking property in warp and weft direction has increased.


The absorbency rate is increased in the entire sample when subjected to sinking test and drop test. The antimicrobial treatment with Mint stem showed adherence of colour to the fabric with moderate and fair color fastness properties.


Antimicrobial Activity Test

 

S.No

 

Samples

Zone Formation in mm

E. coli (mm)

S. aureus (mm)

C. albicans (mm)

1

O

0

0

0

2

UA

10

15

15

3

UA 1

8

12

10

4

UA 2

7

10

13

5

PM

10

12

15

6

PM 1

9

7

10

7

PM 2

7

6

13

8

D

12

12

15

9

D1

8

8

10

10

D2

7

5

13

The fabric treated using Ultrasonic Automiser showed 10mm zone of inhibition of against E.coli and 15mm for both S.aureus and C.albicans. After washing of the same fabric the activity was assessed and the zone formation was observed to be 8mm for E.coli and 12mm for S.aureus and 10mm for C.albicans where as in second wash 7mm for E.coli, 10mm for S.aureus and 13mm for C.albicans of zone formation was observed. (Plate I, II, III)

The fabric treated using dip and dry method showed zone of inhibition of 12mm for E.coli, 12mm for S.aureus and 15mm for C.albicans. After first washing, the activity was studied and the zone formation was observed as 8mm for both E.coli and S.aureus and 10mm for C.albicans whereas after second wash 7mm for E.coli, 5mm for S.aureus and 13mm for C.albicans of zone formation was observed. (Plate VII, VIII, IX)

FTIR Test:

The result of FTIR states that the treated fabric with ethanol has the broad peak in the region 2925.74 cm-1 this may be due to O-H stretch and C-H stretch (because sample has been recorded in liquid form in ethanol solvent). Apart from this the prominent peak was formed at 1458.09 cm-1 and 1165.53 cm-1. This may be due to the presence of O-H bend and C-O stretch of extract. These bonds reveal the probability of antimicrobial activity. Since the peak levels are higher in ethanol extraction it was selected for the final study.

The SEM image of the untreated cotton fabric is presented in Figure 11 (a). It can be observed that the surface of the fabric appears to be smooth. The surface appearance of treated cotton fabric is shown in Figure 11 (b), 11 (c), 11 (d) and 11 (e). In the Figure 11 (b), 11 (c), 11 (d) and 11 (e) the microscope views as follows 100µm, 50 µm, 10 µm and 2 µm. the micrograph shows that the Mint Stem extracts are well coated on the cotton fibre surface.


Conclusion

The extract from Mint Stem is the best suitable for the treatment of cotton fabric for Antimicrobial finish. The treatment of the fabric with the Mint Stem extract gave a pale green colour with moderate colour fastness property too. Use and throw antimicrobial products could be created by treating the fabrics with the Mint Stem extract.


Recommendations

  • Micro encapsulation of Mint Stem powder could be tried for textile finishing.
  • Medical textile products could be developed with Mint stem extract treated fabric.


Acknowledgement

The author wishes to thank South Indian Textile Research Association (SITRA) And South Indian Mills Association (SIMA), for providing the library facilities.


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