A British photographic manufacturer plans to use a £4.95m cash injection to ?harness? the silver used to make black & white film, for use in healthcare products.

Harman technology, which owns Ilford Photo, says it has developed methods to use silver?s ?antimicrobial properties? in products such as ‘plasters, sportswear and medical diagnostics’.

Though silver is crucial to the photographic process, it has also been used in healthcare products to control infection.

Medical products currently using silver include gels, bandages and catheters.

It is also used in antibacterial socks which are available to buy on the high street.

Silver is known to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi on clothing and reduce odours.

Harman?s chairman Howard Hopwood said: ?While our core business centres around photographic products, our expertise has developed over the past century into a robust proposition for other markets where silver has commercial applications.?

The move has been made possible thanks to a ‘refinancing’ deal worth £4.95m, according to the Cheshire-based company.