Chitosan produced by the deacetylation of chitin is a cationic polymer with antimicrobial properties. In this study, we demonstrate the improvement of chitosan properties by nanofibrillation. Nanofiber sheets were prepared from nanofibrillated chitosan under neutral conditions. The Young's modulus and tensile strength of the chitosan NF sheets were higher than those of the chitosan sheets prepared from dissolving chitosan in acetic acid. The chitosan NF sheets showed strong mycelial growth inhibition against dermatophytes Microsporum and Trichophyton. Moreover, the chitosan NF sheets exhibited resistance to degradation by the fungi, suggesting potentials long-lasting usage. In addition, surface-deacetylated chitin nanofiber (SDCNF) sheets were prepared. The SDCNF sheet had a high Young's modulus and tensile strength and showed antifungal activity to dermatophytes. These data indicate that nanofibrillation improved the properties of chitosan. Thus, chitosan NF and SDCNF sheets are useful candidates for antimicrobial materials.
Keywords: antifungal activity; chitosan nanofibers; dermatophyte; surface-deacetylated chitin nanofibers.