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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Aug;115(8):2000-2012. doi: 10.1002/bit.26713. Epub 2018 Apr 27.

Anhydrous polymer-based coating with sustainable controlled release functionality for facile, efficacious impregnation, and delivery of antimicrobial peptides.

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Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore, Singapore.
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.
Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.
Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI), National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


Anhydrous polymers are actively explored as alternative materials to overcome limitations of conventional hydrogel-based antibacterial coating. However, the requirement for strong organic solvent in polymerization reactions often necessitates extra protection steps for encapsulation of target biomolecules, lowering encapsulation efficiency, and increasing process complexity. This study reports a novel coating strategy that allows direct solvation and encapsulation of antimicrobial peptides (HHC36) into anhydrous polycaprolactone (PCL) polymer-based dual layer coating. A thin 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) film is layered onto the peptide-impregnated PCL as a diffusion barrier, to modulate and enhance release kinetics. The impregnated peptides are eventually released in a controlled fashion. The use of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE), as polymerization and solvation medium, induces the impregnated peptides to adopt highly stable turned conformation, conserving peptide integrity, and functionality during both encapsulation and subsequent release processes. The dual layer coating showed sustained antibacterial functionality, lasting for 14 days. In vivo assessment using an experimental mouse wounding model demonstrated good biocompatibility and significant antimicrobial efficacy of the coating under physiological conditions. The coating was translated onto silicone urinary catheters and showed promising antibacterial efficacy, even outperforming commercial silver-based Dover cather. This anhydrous polymer-based platform holds immense potential as an effective antibacterial coating to prevent clinical device-associated infections. The simplicity of the coating process enhances its industrial viability.


anhydrous polymer coating; antimicrobial peptides; controlled release; trifluoroethanol solvent; urinary catheter


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