Hydroxyl Radical Generation Through the Fenton-Like Reaction of Hematin- and Catechol-Functionalized Microgels

Chem Mater. 2020 Oct 13;32(19):8182-8194. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c01551. Epub 2020 Sep 4.


Hydroxyl radical (OH) is a potent reactive oxygen species with the ability to degrade hazardous organic compounds, kill bacteria, and inactivate viruses. However, an off-the-shelf, portable, and easily activated biomaterial for generating OH does not exist. Here, microgels were functionalized with catechol, an adhesive moiety found in mussel adhesive proteins, and hematin (HEM), a hydroxylated Fe3+ ion-containing porphyrin derivative. When the microgel was hydrated in an aqueous solution with physiological pH, molecular oxygen in the solution oxidized catechol to generate H2O2, which was further converted to OH by HEM. The generated OH was able to degrade organic dyes, including orange II and malachite green. Additionally, the generated OH was antimicrobial against both gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis) bacteria with the initial concentration of 106-107 CFU/mL. These microgels also reduced the infectivity of a non-enveloped porcine parvovirus and an enveloped bovine viral diarrhea virus by 3.5 and 4.5 log reduction values, respectively (99.97-99.997% reduction in infectivity). These microgels were also functionalized with positively charged [2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl] trimethylammonium chloride (METAC), which significantly enhanced the antibacterial and antiviral activities through electrostatic interaction between the negatively charged pathogens and the microgel. These microgels can potentially serve as a lightweight and portable source of disinfectant, for an on-demand generation of OH with a wide range of applications.