Cow dung has been traditionally used for various purposes including paint, fertilizers, bricks etc and now it can also be used for making antibacterial cloth.
This antibacterial cloth has been developed in Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute ( KNHPI) of Jaipur which is a unit of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and was recently launched by the Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane.
The cloth was tested at The South India Textile Research Association, Coimbatore (SITRA), a centre of excellence for medical textiles and passed the test of antibacterial activity.
"It took us two years to complete the research but we are happy that our research will be able to fetch additional income to the farmers and at the same time protect people from harmful infectious microorganisms," said Dr Saskshy Agarwal, the scientist who extracted antibacterial agent from cow dung and developed the cloth.
Saakshy told that the textile cloth is mostly made up of organic fibres including cotton which is readily attacked by micro-organisms causing loss of strength and discolouration and at the time of COVID 19 it has become the need of the day to use antibacterial cloth to control the spread of infectious microorganisms.
The antibacterial fabric has various applications. It can be used as sportswear, military cloth, handkerchiefs, bedsheets, face masks, door handles, freeze handles, in the health sector, laboratories, food plazas, hotels, oil mills, etc.
"The antibacterial fabric is already there in the market but the agents used in them are chemical-based and these agents can become dislodged from textiles during laundering and enter the local water sources via drains, polluting the environment," said Saakshy and claims that the agent they extracted and used is natural and non-toxic.
She said that the testing laboratory SITRA has confirmed that the antibacterial activity flourishes even after many washes and the product is cost-effective as well.
The KNHPI is in the process to patent the product and will impart training to small weavers associated with Khadi for making the antibacterial cloth. "It will be useful for the farmers and gaushalas to increase their income and cow dung shall be a source of income generation in the textile sector also," said Saakshy.