Antimicrobial coatings with pH-responsive properties

A new study offers new opportunities for the utilisation of a simple and universal antimicrobial-loaded hydrogel coating with smart pH-responsive properties to combat bacterial colonisation and encrustation formation in urinary catheters.

Petri dishes with bacterial cultures.
The ZnO–rGO coatings exhibited high activity against the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Image source: branislavp (symbol image).

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. A typical sign is the alkalisation of the urine (pH up to 9–10). However, effective antibacterial strategies with high antimicrobial loading efficiency and pH-responsiveness of antimicrobial release are still lacking. Researchers now developed a poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate)-tannic acid (polySBMA-TA) hydrogel coating, which served as a universal, efficient, and responsive carrier for antimicrobials on urinary catheters.

Good antibacterial properties

Common antimicrobials, including poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-iodine, copper ions, and nitrofurazone were loaded into the polySBMA-TA coating in high efficiency (several fold higher than that of the polySBMA coating), via the formation of multiple non-covalent interactions between the antimicrobials and hydrogel coating. The hydrogel coatings maintained good antibacterial properties under neutral conditions. More importantly, the pH-responsive release of antibacterial agents under alkaline conditions further enhanced the antibacterial activity of the coatings.

The study has been published in Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Issue 15, March 2023.

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