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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2005 Jun 20;90(6):715-22.

Immobilized N-alkylated polyethylenimine avidly kills bacteria by rupturing cell membranes with no resistance developed.

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Department of Chemistry and Division of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Several critical mechanistic and phenomenological aspects of the microbicidal surface coatings based on immobilized hydrophobic polycations, previously developed by us, are addressed. Using Escherichia coli (Gram-negative) and Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive) bacteria, remarkable bactericidal action (up to a 10(9)-fold reduction in live bacteria count in the surface-exposed solution and a 100% inactivation of the surface-adhered bacteria) of an amino-glass slide covalently derivatized with N-hexyl,methyl-polyethylenimine (PEI) is found to be due to rupturing bacterial cell membranes by the polymeric chains. The bacteria fail to develop noticeable resistance to this lethal action over the course of many successive generations. Finally, the immobilized N-alkyl-PEI, while deadly to bacteria, is determined to be harmless to mammalian (monkey kidney) cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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