A polymeric composition having antimicrobial properties and a process for rendering the surface of a substrate antimicrobial are disclosed. The composition comprises a crosslinked chemical combination of (i) a polymer having amino group-containing side chains along a backbone forming the polymer, (ii) an antimicrobial agent selected from quaternary ammonium compounds, gentian violet compounds, substituted or unsubstituted phenols, biguanide compounds, iodine compounds, and mixtures thereof, and (iii) a crosslinking agent containing functional groups capable of reacting with the amino groups. In one embodiment, the polymer is a polyamide formed from a maleic anhydride or maleic acid ester monomer and alkylamines thereby producing a polyamide having amino substituted alkyl chains on one side of the polyamide backbone; the crosslinking agent is a phosphine having the general formula (A).sub.3 P wherein A is hydroxyalkyl; and the antimicrobial agent is chlorhexidine, dimethylchlorophenol, cetyl pyridinium chloride, gentian violet, triclosan, thymol, iodine, and mixtures thereof.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This Invention was made with U.S. Government support under NREL Subcontract NO. XXE-9-29058-01, Prime Contract No. DE-AC36-98GO10337 awarded by the Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.