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AGXX – The antimicrobial technology for a more germ-free life

Where people are, there are also germs, viruses and bacteria – they do not even stop at outer space. However, from now on, they can no longer get past the toilet door of the International Space Station ISS and many other materials on Earth: thanks to an antimicrobial technology that kills all kind of microorganisms.

Heraeus AGXX on ISS

Not only on Earth, but also on the International Space Station ISS, protection against germs plays a major role. Once introduced by astronauts, the conditions for bacteria and other germs are even better in space: they can mutate more easily and thus develop resistance. In addition, conventional disinfectants may not be used on the ISS due to the risk of explosion and medical care is limited. To investigate how bacteria spread on the ISS, researchers have tested various coatings on the toilet door, including the new agent AGXX. The result: after six months, no germs have survived on the surface coated with AGXX, unlike on the other two surfaces – untreated steel and steel coated with silver. The AGXX coating prevents microorganisms from attaching themselves to the surface and contaminating it. The use of such antimicrobial solutions is therefore a promising weapon against the spread of germs.

Our contribution: precious metals-based antimicrobial

Conventional antimicrobial substances are not without weaknesses: their effect is often based on the release of metal ions or pharmaceuticals, which leads to the loss of their efficacy over time. The consequences are high workload and maintenance costs for follow-up measures. This is different with the AGXX technology. Heraeus has acquired the exclusive license for AGXX particles, a catalytically driven antimicrobial protective shield from the Berlin start-up Largentec.

AGXX is a highly efficient, antimicrobial system based on catalytic redox reactions and microelectric field effects. In the presence of air humidity, oxygen is converted into reactive oxygen species (ROS), which react with harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi and kill them. In this way, materials that contain or are coated with AGXX effectively prevent biofilm formation. At the same time, they are free from pharmaceuticals and do not release any metal ions into the environment. This leads to a longer lasting antimicrobial effect. In addition to its use on the ISS, there are many other potential applications: Medical devices, paints, varnishes, face masks, textiles, air conditioning systems or even surfaces and handles in public transport.