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Materials Science

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Materials Chemistry


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Biointeractive fibres with antibacterial properties (»Add to Infobox)

Research Leader: Monica Ek
Josefin Illergård, Professor Lars Wågberg

Wood Chemistry and Pulp Technology, Fibre Technology

Bacteria can be found all around us. Although bacteria form a vital part of the ecosystem, many strains are considered a health risks. Additionally, unwanted bacteria in the wrong environment can cause inconvenient problems such as odours or decomposition.

A variety of means for fighting the bacteria exist today. Unfortunately, the bacteria can adapt to many of the substances used and become resistant. The antibacterial agents can also be harmful to animals and the environment. In the project Biointeractive fibres we seek to overcome the above-mentioned problems by attaching antibacterial polymers to biorenewable cellulose fibres by the polyelectrolyte multilayer technique (PEM). The polymers used are tailor-made cationic polyelectrolytes that interact with the bacterial membrane, thus causing cell death. By using electrostatic attachment to irreversibly bind these polymers to a surface, no leaking occurs and the concentration is kept at a high, efficient strength. As opposed to methods that utilize chemical grafting to attach polymers, the PEM technique used here employs water-based solutions and is carried out in room temperature. The method is thus a more sustainable alternative than previously described approaches to fabricating antibacterial surfaces.

This project is driven in cooperation between KTH, Karolinska Instiutet (KI) and the industrial project partners. Work at KTH is carried out both in the surface engineering field and in the microbiology area to characterize the antibacterial activity of the surfaces. At the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology at KI, studies aiming at a deeper understanding of the underlying antibacterial mechanisms are performed by Ute Römlings group. A part of the project is dedicated to developing a demonstrator for a future product together with the industrial partners.

Period: 2007-04-01 - 2012-06-01

Antibacterial, Antibacterial polymers, Biointeractive, Cellulose, Multilayer




VINNOVA (The Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems)


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