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Noble Biomaterials’ Citric Acid Odor-Fighting Solution is EPA-Approved

An odor-fighting fabric technology made from plants has earned a stamp of approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Noble Biomaterials announced Thursday that its bio-based antimicrobial solution for soft surface applications has received official EPA registration. Made from a citric acid-based formula, Ionic+ Botanical inhibits the growth of odor-causing microbes on fabric and other surfaces.

The Scranton, Penn.-based company began developing the proprietary solution in 2021, filing with the EPA as a part of the development process and launching the solution in November. Now that the formula is registered, Noble’s licensed partners can claim antimicrobial benefits like “odor control” and surface protection for several performance fabric applications.

Officially registered as a medical device manufacturing facility with the Food And Drug Administration (FDA), Noble creates several medical-grade products for hospitals and military use. The company has developed EPA-approved antimicrobial products, including Ionic+ Mineral Antimicrobial, which incorporates silver ions into yarns, fabrics or foams to fight the microbial growth that comes from moisture such as sweat. The technology has been adopted by apparel brands including Athleta and Mack Weldon and home brands Rest Duvet and Silvon Home.

With its newest innovation, Noble wanted to address growing interest in plant-based technology that meets performance and sustainability standards. Active apparel, health care, travel and home goods companies are increasingly looking for eco-conscious fabrics that require less maintenance and fewer washes. Ionic+ Botanical leverages citric acid along with pharmaceuticals and cleaning agents.

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“Sometimes innovative solutions are staring you right in the face,” founder and chief commercial officer Joel Furey said. “Citric acid is used for so many things in our everyday lives, and during the pandemic we noticed how much citric was used as an antimicrobial and disinfectant agent in various consumer products.”

The Noble team got to work innovating potential fabric applications. “After significant research and development, we were able to engineer a novel approach that was both an effective and durable solution for the antimicrobial protection of textiles and other materials,” Furey said. “Our product team deserves tremendous credit for bringing Ionic+ Botanical to market so quickly.”

Today, Noble is developing product applications with partners such as Trident, a home textiles company that makes bedsheets and towels, and outdoor gear-maker Salomon. Ionic+ Botanicals products will be widely available in 2024.

The EPA registration will help advance the new technology’s commercial marketability, Furey said. The agency evaluates any products made with antimicrobial actives in the U.S. before they can be sold to consumers, and such solutions are vetted to ensure they meet federal safety standards for both humans and the environment, assessing them based on their composition, potential adverse effects, and ecological impact. A product qualifies for registration after a comprehensive review that shows it is safe when it is used according to the label directions.

“We hold ourselves to a very high bar,” Furey said. “We know it’s important to our…partners and ultimately the end users to bring products to the market that are built on integrity, efficacy, and sustainability.”