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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2012 Dec 15;388(1):268-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2012.08.025. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Carbon nanotube-based antimicrobial biomaterials formed via layer-by-layer assembly with polypeptides.

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Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8286, United States.


Biomaterials capable of suppressing microbial infection are of clear importance in various health care applications, e.g. implantable devices. In this study, we investigate the antimicrobial activity of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) layer-by-layer (LbL) assembled with the polyelectrolytes poly(L-lysine) (PLL) and poly(L-glutamic acid) (PGA). SWNT dispersion in aqueous solution is achieved through the biocompatible nonionic surfactant polyoxyethylene(20) sorbitan monolaurate (Tween 20), and the amphiphilic polymer phospholipid-poly(ethylene glycol) (PL-PEG). Absorbance spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) show SWNT with either Tween 20 or PL-PEG in aqueous solution to be well dispersed, at about the level of SWNT in chloroform. Quartz crystal microgravimetry with dissipation (QCMD) measurements show both SWNT-Tween and SWNT-PL-PEG to LbL assemble with PLL and PGA into multilayer films, with the PL-PEG system yielding the greater final SWNT content. Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis inactivation rates are significantly higher (up to 90%) upon 24h incubation with SWNT containing films, compared to control films (ca. 20%). This study demonstrates the potential usefulness of SWNT/PLL/PGA thin films as antimicrobial biomaterials.

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