Iranian scientists are using lecithin to synthesize and bind silver nanoparticles more tightly to wool according to this April 25, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,
“Bearing the basic concepts of the green chemistry in the mind, we have managed to synthesize the nanoparticles both in the aqueous phase and over a woolen medium. We employed Lecithin to serve as the stabilizer and carrier of the silver nanoparticles through the woolen medium,” says Hossein Barani, a member of the research group [at Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran].
The goals targeted by this research project apparently include the synthesis of silver nanoparticles with the help of Lecithin as a biodegradable surface active agent, to apply environmentally friendly chemicals in the synthesis of nanoparticles, simultaneous synthesis and loading of the nanoparticles into the fiber structures which effectively improves the quality and durability of the washing.
“Lecithin acts as a stabilizer for the silver nanoparticles during their synthesis step and also is the vehicle by which the nanoparticles are transferred into the woolen fiber structures. The prepared silver nanoparticles possess approximate dimensions of 7 nm and are entrapped inside a liposomic vesicle,” Barani added.
Here are some of the advantages (from the news item),
“Simultaneous synthesis and loading of the silver nanoparticles is in favor of the loading efficiency and durability of washing. In addition, the presence of Lecithin boosts the loading quality, avoids excessive concentration of the nanoparticles upon the fibers’ surfaces, reduces the undesired yellowing of the fabric, and increases the antibacterial performance through a gradual release with lowest toxicity for fibroblast cells,” he reiterated.
Apparently, it would be fairly easy to transfer this process to industry (from the news item),
Barani also evaluated the commercialization of the method as promising, and said, “In case of industrial investment, the proposed approach can be implemented to the production line of textile companies with practical ease.”