Microbiological testing to qualify and quantify antimicrobial performance

The IAC uses standard test standards but also customizes existing test methods to meet the needs of its members so that the testing correlates to the use and abuse conditions that their treated products will be exposed to in the real world. The objective of this work is to help members develop customized test methods to quickly, accurately and reproducibly measure the performance of antimicrobials on treated articles. IAC representatives also work closely with its members and various standards organizations to refine and improve existing test standards and promote the adoption of newly developed test methods to help meet this objective.


When testing a treated product for antimicrobial performance the IAC seeks to provide useful reports to the members submitting the articles to be tested. In many cases this will require the member to submit a significant amount of information about the product, the way it was treated, the kind of antimicrobial used and the function the antimicrobial is expected to perform. This information allows the IAC laboratory to apply the correct test method and generate a test report that will provide the information requested

Test Standards Used

ASTM E1428 (Standard Test Method for Evaluating the Performance of antimicrobials in or on Polymeric Solids against Staining by Streptoverticillium reticulum)

ASTM 2149 (Standard Test Method for Determining the Antimicrobial Activity of Immobilized Antimicrobial Agents Under Dynamic Contact Conditions)

ASTM E2180 (Standard test Method for Determining the Activity of Incorporated Antimicrobial Agents in Polymeric or Hydrophobic Materials)

EPA Copper Sanitizer Test (Efficacy as a Sanitizer)

EPA Copper Residual Efficacy Test (Residual Self-Sanitizing Activity)

EPA Copper Continuous Reduction Test (Continuous Reduction of Bacterial Contamination)

ISO 22196 (Measurement of Antibacterial Activity on Plastic Surfaces)

JIS Z2801 (Japanese Test for Antimicrobial Activity and Efficacy)

Standard ZOI Test (Kirby Bauer Qualitative Test for Growth Inhibition)

ASTM C1338 (Determining Fungi Resistance of Insulation Materials and Facings)

ASTM D2020 (Standard Test Methods for Mildew)

ASTM D3273 (Resistance to Mold on the Surface of Interior Coatings in an Environmental Chamber)

ASTM D4300 (Availability of Adhesive Films to Support or resist the Growth of Fungi)

ASTM G21 (Determining Resistance of Synthetic Polymeric Materials to Fungi)

ISO 16869 (Effectiveness of Fungistatic Compounds in Plastics Formulations)

AATCC 100 (Assessment of Antibacterial Finishes on Textile Materials)

AATCC 147 (Parallel Streak Method for Antibacterial Activity Assessment of Textile Materials)

AATCC 174 (Antimicrobial Activity Assessment of Carpets)

JIS L 1902 (Japanese Test For Antimicrobial Activity and Efficacy of Textile Products)

AATCC 30 (Antifungal Activity on Textile Material)

CUSTOM ANTIMICROBIAL PRODUCT EFFICACY TESTS (Tests developed for a unique treated product where extensive modification of existing standards are required)

Treated Product Testing

Antimicrobial efficacy testing is performed using a variety of recognized test standards. Utilizing the appropriate test method for a given antimicrobial and substrate is important to obtaining consistent and reproducible results that correlate to the real world use of the treated product. The IAC laboratory has extensive experience in defining the appropriate test method based on the mode of action of the antimicrobial and the product being treated.