The development of innovative technologies to modify natural textiles holds an important impact for medical applications, including the prevention of contamination with microorganisms, particularly in the hospital environment. In our study, Fe and N co-doped TiO₂ nanoparticles have been obtained via the hydrothermal route, at moderate temperature, followed by short thermal annealing at 400 °C. These particles were used to impregnate polyester (PES) materials which have been evaluated for their morphology, photocatalytic performance, antimicrobial activity against bacterial reference strains, and in vitro biocompatibility on human skin fibroblasts. Microscopic examination and quantitative assays have been used to evaluate the cellular morphology and viability, cell membrane integrity, and inflammatory response. All treated PES materials specifically inhibited the growth of Gram-negative bacilli strains after 15 min of contact, being particularly active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PES fabrics treated with photocatalysts did not affect cell membrane integrity nor induce inflammatory processes, proving good biocompatibility. These results demonstrate that the treatment of PES materials with TiO₂-1% Fe-N particles could provide novel biocompatible fabrics with short term protection against microbial colonization, demonstrating their potential for the development of innovative textiles that could be used in biomedical applications for preventing patients' accidental contamination with microorganisms from the hospital environment.
Keywords: antibacterial; photocatalyst; polyester textile; skin fibroblasts; titanium dioxide.