Mussel-Inspired Anisotropic Nanocellulose and Silver Nanoparticle Composite with Improved Mechanical Properties, Electrical Conductivity and Antibacterial Activity

Polymers (Basel). 2016 Mar 22;8(3):102. doi: 10.3390/polym8030102.


Materials for wearable devices, tissue engineering and bio-sensing applications require both antibacterial activity to prevent bacterial infection and biofilm formation, and electrical conductivity to electric signals inside and outside of the human body. Recently, cellulose nanofibers have been utilized for various applications but cellulose itself has neither antibacterial activity nor conductivity. Here, an antibacterial and electrically conductive composite was formed by generating catechol mediated silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on the surface of cellulose nanofibers. The chemically immobilized catechol moiety on the nanofibrous cellulose network reduced Ag⁺ to form AgNPs on the cellulose nanofiber. The AgNPs cellulose composite showed excellent antibacterial efficacy against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. In addition, the catechol conjugation and the addition of AgNP induced anisotropic self-alignment of the cellulose nanofibers which enhances electrical and mechanical properties of the composite. Therefore, the composite containing AgNPs and anisotropic aligned the cellulose nanofiber may be useful for biomedical applications.

Keywords: anisotropic alignment; antibacterial activities; cellulose nanofibers; electrical conductivities; mechanical properties; silver nanoparticles.