Polylactic acid was combined with lemongrass essential oil (EO) to produce functional nanocapsules (NCs). The obtained polylactic acid nanoparticles showed antimicrobial activity both with and without the presence of lemongrass oil; however, the presence of EO improved the activity of the NCs. The presence of lemongrass assisted the formation of well-separated NCs and also provided enhanced antimicrobial properties, since lemongrass is known for its antimicrobial character. Fluorescence microscopy was used to optically observe the nanoparticles and NCs and revealed the attachment of lemongrass oil with the polylactic acid NCs. Dynamic light scattering was used to determine their size. UV absorption was used to determine the exact amount of lemongrass oil found in the polylactic acid-lemongrass oil NCs, which was important for understanding the minimum inhibitory concentration for the antimicrobial experiments. A series of clinically important microbial species were used in the study and the obtained NCs proved to have very good antimicrobial properties against all tested strains. Such NCs can be used for the design of ecological strategies, based on natural alternatives, which may be efficient against severe infections, including those that involve resistant pathogens and biofilms or those with difficult to reach localization.
Keywords: antimicrobial nanocapsules; biofilms; infectious diseases; lemongrass essential oil; polylactic acid.