A natural silver-based antibacterial substance that goes by the brand name AgION™ has been making inroads into the refrigeration market.

The product has been turning up for use in ice machines of several companies. Now the technology is reaching the refrigerator and freezer sector. The German company Bosch has announced that it is now coating the inner walls of its equipment with the substance.

“On the surface, it acts as a permanent barrier against the growth of bacteria, fungi, and unpleasant odors,” said Bosch’s Uta Rodenhauser.

The antimicrobial coating was developed to inhibit the growth of bacteria, molds, fungi, and other microbes. The coating is said to provide continuous protection through the controlled release of silver ions, which come in contact with any microbes that are present. AK Steel of Middletown, Ohio, is one of the many companies utilizing AgION.

The company said that re-searchers at a number of universities and research facilities have presented findings on ionic silver’s antimicrobial mechanism, which prevents respiration in microbes. The antimicrobial compound is blended into an epoxy resin.

Refrigerators, Freezers

In promoting the use of the compound in its freezers and refrigerators, Bosch noted, “This unique coating provides you with lifetime protection against bacteria, microorganisms, and algae growth, therefore providing the safest possible environment for storing your food.

“Bacteria thrive in warm, moist foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and cream. Even fruit and vegetables require low temperatures for storage to prevent mold and other bacterial growth.”

The company also offers what it calls “Active Cooling” to maintain even, constant temperatures. Cold air is blown to all areas of the unit through several outlets. Sensor electronics “maintain a continuous, constant temperature throughout the refrigeration unit,” the company stated. “There are no warm or excessively cold areas.”

The company also employs a technology it calls “Turbo Cooling,” which “allows for more even temperature and humidity distribution so food can be stored wherever there is space.”

The company claimed that because there is no humidity buildup, the unit pulls back to accepted temperatures once a door that has been opened is closed.

While the Bosch refrigeration equipment is primarily available in Europe, its use of the AgION compound sends a signal to the industry that the silver-based antibacterial substance is continuing to gain more acceptance in refrigeration equipment.

For additional information, visit www.bosch-da.co.uk.

Publication date: 01/27/2003