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Nanotechnology. 2012 Oct 5;23(39):395101. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/23/39/395101. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Graphene nanocomposite for biomedical applications: fabrication, antimicrobial and cytotoxic investigations.

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Department of Civil and Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5003, USA.


Materials possessing excellent bacterial toxicity, while presenting low cytotoxicity to human cells, are strong candidates for biomaterials applications. In this study, we present the fabrication of a nanocomposite containing poly(N-vinylcarbazole) (PVK) and graphene (G) in solutions and thin films. Highly dispersed PVK-G (97-3 w/w%) solutions in various organic and aqueous solvents were prepared by solution mixing and sonication methods. The thermal properties and morphology of the new composite were analyzed using thermal gravimetry analysis (TGA) and atomic force microscopy (AFM), respectively. PVK-G films were immobilized onto indium tin oxide (ITO) substrates via electrodeposition. AFM was used to characterize the resulting topography of the nanocomposite thin films, while cyclic voltammetry and UV-vis were used to monitor their successful electrodeposition. The antimicrobial properties of the electrodeposited PVK-G films and solution-based PVK-G were investigated against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis). Microbial growth after exposure to the nanocomposite, metabolic assay and live-dead assay of the bacterial solutions exposed to PVK-G presented fewer viable and active bacteria than those exposed to pure PVK or pure graphene solutions. The PVK-G film inhibited about 80% of biofilm surface coverage whereas the PVK- and G-modified surfaces allowed biofilm formation over almost the whole coated surface (i.e. > 80%). The biocompatibility of the prepared PVK-G solutions on NIH 3T3 cells was evaluated using the MTS cell proliferation assay. A 24 h exposure of the PVK-G nanocomposite to the NIH 3T3 cells presented ~80% cell survival.

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