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Adv Mater. 2011 Feb 8;23(6):690-718. doi: 10.1002/adma.201001215. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Antifouling coatings: recent developments in the design of surfaces that prevent fouling by proteins, bacteria, and marine organisms.

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Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.


The major strategies for designing surfaces that prevent fouling due to proteins, bacteria, and marine organisms are reviewed. Biofouling is of great concern in numerous applications ranging from biosensors to biomedical implants and devices, and from food packaging to industrial and marine equipment. The two major approaches to combat surface fouling are based on either preventing biofoulants from attaching or degrading them. One of the key strategies for imparting adhesion resistance involves the functionalization of surfaces with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) or oligo(ethylene glycol). Several alternatives to PEG-based coatings have also been designed over the past decade. While protein-resistant coatings may also resist bacterial attachment and subsequent biofilm formation, in order to overcome the fouling-mediated risk of bacterial infection it is highly desirable to design coatings that are bactericidal. Traditional techniques involve the design of coatings that release biocidal agents, including antibiotics, quaternary ammonium salts (QAS), and silver, into the surrounding aqueous environment. However, the emergence of antibiotic- and silver-resistant pathogenic strains has necessitated the development of alternative strategies. Therefore, other techniques based on the use of polycations, enzymes, nanomaterials, and photoactive agents are being investigated. With regard to marine antifouling coatings, restrictions on the use of biocide-releasing coatings have made the generation of nontoxic antifouling surfaces more important. While considerable progress has been made in the design of antifouling coatings, ongoing research in this area should result in the development of even better antifouling materials in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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