We present natural polymeric composite films made of essential oils (EOs) dispersed in sodium alginate (NaAlg) matrix, with remarkable anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Namely, elicriso italic, chamomile blue, cinnamon, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass and lemon oils were encapsulated in the films as potential active substances. Glycerol was used to induce plasticity and surfactants were added to improve the dispersion of EOs in the NaAlg matrix. The topography, chemical composition, mechanical properties, and humidity resistance of the films are presented analytically. Antimicrobial tests were conducted on films containing different percentages of EOs against Escherichia coli bacteria and Candida albicans fungi, and the films were characterized as effective or not. Such diverse types of essential oil-fortified alginate films can find many applications mainly as disposable wound dressings but also in food packaging, medical device protection and disinfection, and indoor air quality improvement materials, to name a few.
Keywords: Antimicrobial wound dressings; Essential oils; Natural materials; Sodium alginate; Surface analysis.
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