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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2004 Jul;25(7):932-6.

Relationship between antibacterial activity of chitosan and surface characteristics of cell wall.

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Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, China Institute of Technology, Taipei 245, China.



Five representative waterborne pathogens were used to illustrate the relationship between chitosan's antibacterial activity and the surface characteristics of the bacterial cell wall.


Chitosan was prepared with averaged 75% or 95% deacetylated degree to examine its antibacterial activity against waterborne pathogens. Fresh microbial inoculants for the antibacterial assessment were prepared on nutrient agar at 37 degrees for 24 h. The evaluation items of antibacterial mechanism included hydrophilicity and negative charge analysis of cell surface, and adsorptive characteristics of chitosan to bacterial cell. All the experiments were applied in triplicate tests at least.


Although cell wall hydrophilicity was similar among Gram-negative bacteria, the distribution of negative charge on their cell surfaces was quite different. More negatively charged cell surfaces had a greater interaction with chitosan, a phenomenon further confirmed by transmission electron micrography (TEM).


Results showed the hydrophilicity in Gram-negative bacteria was much higher than in Gram-positive ones. The correlation coefficient 0.988 between the amount of absorbed chitosan and its inhibition efficiency indicated a close relationship.

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