Use of Nanoparticles to Enhance Antibacterial Activity of Polydimethylsiloxane Membranes

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Researchers from Jilin Institute of Chemical Technology developed bare silver nanoparticles in-situ on the surface of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to improve anti-adhesive and antibacterial capability

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is the most widely used silicon-based organic polymer in contact lenses, elastomers, cosmetics, food, medicine, and medical devices. The major drawback of PDMS is the nonspecific surface adsorption of proteins and bacteria. Nanomaterials offer excellent antibacterial effects against a broad spectrum of bacteria. Antibacterial surfaces based on silver nanoparticles could be achieved by a wide variety of methods. However, silver nanoparticles are weakly bounded to the surface of PDMS with nanoparticles easily released during the application.

Now, a team of researchers from Jilin Institute of Chemical Technology developed silica microspheres (SMs) with in-situ growth of silver nanoparticles on their surface to address the issue of loading the silver nanoparticles antibacterial and anti-adhesive surface to PDMS. The team found that the concentration of silver ions can be modified to control the size of the as-prepared silver nanoparticles. The SMs were covalently bonded to the bulk PDMS. The team used the reduction process of silver ions by thiol groups to spontaneously generate bare silver nanoparticles on the surface of the prepared SMs. This in turn produced antibacterial materials with anti-adhesive surfaces coated with small and well-defined quantities of in-situ generated silver nanoparticles.

The team found that the PDMS-SMs-silver nanoparticles surface effectively halted the adhesion and growth of E. coli and Bacillus subtilis. The surface demonstrated hydrophobicity. No leakage of silver nanoparticles was observed in the surface and the surface could restrain bacteria growth. The researchers suggested further study to encourage future use of SMs on the surface of PDMS for developing potent antibacterial agents with wide-ranging applications. The research was published in the journal MDPI Nanomaterials on May 6, 2019.

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Latisha Diaz is a general assignment reporter at Plains Gazette. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in his journalism career, and has lived in City Houston for more than 8 years. Latisha has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.