Slow release polymer–iodine tablets for disinfection of untreated surface water



Simple water treatment devices are designed to treat small amounts of drinking water for home use. This study was undertaken to develop an iodine-releasing polymeric formulation and examine its potential as a domestic water purifier for untreated surface water. The antimicrobial tablet formulation was made from gum arabic (GA), poly(vinylalcohol) (PVA), ethyl cellulose (EC), and poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-iodine (PVP-I). The formulation consisted of a dispersible core tablet surrounded by a hydrophilic coating of EC and poly(ethylene glycol) mixture. These stable, non-vaporizing, and water-insoluble tablets slowly release iodine through diffusion over 48 h when suspended in water. The swelling behavior and release were observed to be the functions of excipient composition, iodine loading, and coating materials. Iodine release was determined by UV–VIS spectroscopy and volumetric titrations. The tablets were also assessed for antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes Scott A, and Salmonella typhimurium. The disinfection efficiency of the developed tablets was compared with a commercial formulation (Potable Aqua®) as both contain iodine-releasing active compounds and work on the antimicrobial property of released iodine. The difference between the two formulations is that water-dispersible Potable Aqua® has a higher amount of free iodine quickly available in water thereby making it a fast-action emergency water purifier, whereas the developed water-insoluble polymer–iodine tablets act slowly and require 24 h to show the same disinfection efficacy with lower content of iodine in water. Overnight release of iodine in water from polymer–iodine tablets was effective in 99.9% reduction of an initial cell count of ∼ 107 colony forming units (cfu)/mL. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010