Friday, August 8, 2008

[ Technical Textiles - Microbam® Products protect your Home -BuildTech ]

What's a Microbe?
Microbes or microorganisms are living cells that are too small to be seen with the naked eye and must be viewed through a microscope. The naked eye is only able to detect the presence of microbes once they have multiplied to the hundreds of thousands. And under the right conditions, microbes can double in number every 15-20 minutes. Types of microorganisms include bacteria, algae and fungi or mould. Technologies that fight the growth of these organisms are called antimicrobials.
Billions of years ago, bacteria were among the earliest forms of life on Earth. Today, bacteria are present in the soil, in the air, in water, on plants and even on animals and humans. There’s no escaping the presence of bacteria and in fact, many of the bacteria we encounter are beneficial to the environment and even to the human body helping us to digest food for example. However, some bacteria are harmful and can cause illness.
Early fossil records suggest that fungi have been on Earth for over 550 million years. And some experts estimate that today over 1.5 million fungus species exist. Common fungi include mushrooms, puffballs, truffles, yeasts and most mildews. Fungi are commonly referred to as mould and begin life as microscopic airborne spores that germinate on contact with the surface of a nonliving organic matter where moisture is present. Mould is then able to penetrate the organic material, secreting enzymes and absorbing water and the digested sugars and starches from the nutrient source. Mould spores are present everywhere in our indoor and outdoor environment and many of the products found in our homes provide rich nutrient sources. The best defense is prevention: control moisture in your home including high humidity levels and look for products that resist the growth of mould.
Simple, plantlike microorganisms, algae are often classified at the phylum level according to their color, i.e. green, red, golden-brown and brown. Algae vary in size from microscopic algae to the largest forms such as seaweeds. While they can vary in habitat, most algae are found in fresh water or seawater. Algae use the energy of sunlight through the process of photosynthesis to make their own food. Algae produce more oxygen than all plants combined and play an invaluable role in our ecosystem. Humans have also found other uses for algae, as food for people and animals, as thickening agents in ice cream, in shampoos and even in some drugs. In some cases, they can however damage product surfaces for example your swimming pool filter, the hull of your boat, or the exterior of your home.

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