Bacterial adhesion to polyelectrolyte modified materials based on nanocellulose

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Since the introduction of materials based on cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs), these materials have been studied extensively and are suggested to be suitable for use in, for example, hygiene and health care products. A property not very well studied but that could further increase the usability of CNF products is the possibility of controlling bacterial adhesion to the materials. Controlling and fine-tuning the bacterial adhesion makes it possible to produce contact-active antibacterial materials as well as anti-adhesive materials.The current thesis shows how the number of bacteria adhering to CNF-based materials can be altered through the adsorption of polyelectrolyte multilayers. Polyvinylamine (PVAm) and polyacrylic acid (PAA) were adsorbed in multilayers to achieve differently charged materials. The CNF substrates consisted of both crosslinked and non-crosslinked films with different surface charges and structures as well as porous aerogels.The results show the possibility of adsorbing PVAm/PAA to recharge the surfaces and construct multilayers. The polyelectrolyte adsorption was affected both by crosslinking and by changing the surface charge of the CNF films. Increasing the surface charge resulted in a decreased PVAm adsorption after the first polymer layer. Crosslinking the films resulted in a low initial PVAm adsorption, but as more layers were adsorbed, the PVAm adsorption increased similarly to the non-crosslinked films. The PVAm adsorption to the aerogels was lower than expected, taking into account their high surface area and surface charge, possibly due to crowding effects on the surface due to geometric limitations.Only the CNF films with the lowest surface charge and the aerogels adsorbed high numbers of bacteria from bacterial suspensions. The bacterial adsorption to the films was affected by the surface charge, the PAA adsorption and the PVAm adsorption, with a higher net surface charge leading to higher bacterial adsorption. The aerogels efficiently removed bacteria from the bacterial suspensions by adsorbing them onto their surface, with some samples removing over 99.9 % of the bacteria. The results presented in this thesis are believed to lead to a better understanding of both polyelectrolyte adsorption on CNF materials and bacterial adhesion to CNF materials and how polyelectrolyte multilayer adsorption can alter it.

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