Inorganic antimicrobial agents have attracted increasing attention as they can overcome the
shortcomings of organic antimicrobial agents, such as low heat resistance, high decomposability, and
short life expectancy. Typical examples of inorganic antimicrobial agents are titania, zinc oxide, silver,
and metal-exchanged zeolites. Silver- or zinc-ion-exchanged synthetic zeolites are known to exhibit
antimicrobial activities in which zeolites are used as a carrier for silver or zinc oxide. The particle size
and color shade of synthetic zeolites can be well controlled compared to those of natural zeolites. Even
though natural zeolites exhibit limitations with respect to the color and have relatively lower cationexchange
capacity than that of synthetic zeolites, they can be effective as antimicrobial agents after active metal exchange.
The antimicrobial activity and deodorization effects are compared; further, the possibility of the decomposition of volatile
organic compounds by incorporating photocatalytic materials in the antimicrobial agent of cation-exchanged zeolite was
investigated for the application to textiles. Various applications of biomedicine, food package, textile, and building interior
materials in the form of coatings, films, and polymer composites were also summarized.