Plasma-enhanced synthesis of bioactive polymeric coatings from monoterpene alcohols: a combined experimental and theoretical study

Biomacromolecules. 2010 Aug 9;11(8):2016-26. doi: 10.1021/bm100369n.


This paper describes the synthesis and characterization of a novel organic polymer coating for the prevention of the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on the solid surface of three-dimensional objects. Substrata were encapsulated with polyterpenol thin films prepared from terpinen-4-ol using radio frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Terpinen-4-ol is a constituent of tea tree oil with known antibacterial properties. The influence of deposition power on the chemical structure, surface composition, and ultimately the antibacterial inhibitory activity of the resulting polyterpenol thin films was studied using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), water contact angle measurement, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and 3-D interactive visualization and statistical approximation of the topographic profiles. The experimental results were consistent with those predicted by molecular simulations. The extent of bacterial attachment and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) production was analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM). Polyterpenol films deposited at lower power were particularly effective against P. aeruginosa due to the preservation of original terpinen-4-ol molecules in the film structure. The proposed antimicrobial and antifouling coating can be potentially integrated into medical and other clinically relevant devices to prevent bacterial growth and to minimize bacteria-associated adverse host responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Monoterpenes / chemistry*
  • Plasma Gases*
  • Polymers / chemical synthesis*
  • Pseudomonas / physiology
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods
  • X-Rays


  • Alcohols
  • Monoterpenes
  • Plasma Gases
  • Polymers