Precontrolled Alignment of Graphite Nanoplatelets in Polymeric Composites Prevents Bacterial Attachment
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020
Graphene coatings composed of vertical spikes are shown to mitigate bacterial attachment. Such coatings present hydrophobic edges of graphene, which penetrate the lipid bilayers causing physical disruption of bacterial cells. However, manufacturing of such surfaces on a scale required for antibacterial applications is currently not feasible. This study explores whether graphite can be used as a cheaper alternative to graphene coatings. To examine this, composites of graphite nanoplatelets (GNP) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) are extruded in controlled conditions to obtain controlled orientation of GNP flakes within the polymer matrix. Flakes are exposed by etching the surface of GNP–LDPE nanocomposites and antibacterial activity is evaluated. GNP nanoflakes on the extruded samples interact with bacterial cell membranes, physically damaging the cells. Bactericidal activity is observed dependent on orientation and nanoflakes density. Composites with high density of GNP (≥15%) present two key advantages: i) they decrease bacterial viability by a factor of 99.9999%, which is 10 000-fold improvement on the current benchmark, and ii) prevent bacterial colonization, thus drastically reducing the numbers of dead cells on the surface. The latter is a key advantage for longer-term biomedical applications, since these surfaces will not have to be cleaned or replaced for longer periods.
low density polyethylene