Hyosung Corp, South Korea's leading synthetic fibre manufacturer, has launched its first nanotechnology fibre with antibacterial properties for garments ranging from underwear to sportswear.

The Mipan Nano-Magic Silver fibres are infused with minute silver particles which are claimed to be 99.9 per cent effective at preventing infection, including pneumobacilli, colon bacilli and fungi causing athlete's foot.

The fibre also emits infra-red rays that help improve blood circulation and metabolism Hyosung says.

The silver is mixed into the raw materials during the polymeric process, helping to retain the antibiotic effect and infra-red emission after repeated washes. Its dye uptake is said to be excellent, and Hyosung also claims it is more environmentally friendly since the antibiotic substance does not dissolve during washing.

The global market for nanofibres for clothing is currently worth $2.6 billion, and continues to expand by an annual growth rate of over 10 per cent.