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Advances in Polymeric Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications
2021, Pages 225-266

Polymeric nanomaterials as broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds

Abhilasha Mishra1, Rekha Goswami2, Neha Bhatt1

Department of Chemistry, Graphic Era Deemed to be University, Dehradun, India.


Antimicrobial agents have been used to kill or suppress the growth of microbes since many years. But due to improper use of antibiotics in general medical practice and also in animals for increasing meat production, the antimicrobial resistance is becoming more serious. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 2 million people get contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually. Polymeric nanomaterials (PNMs) are complementary to conventional antimicrobial agents and may fill the gaps where simple antimicrobial agents frequently fail. Antimicrobial NMs can be directly prepared from antibacterial polymers, or PNMs can be modified to show antimicrobial activity. PNMs are also used as an excellent carrier for the controlled and targeted delivery of antimicrobial agents. The mechanism of antimicrobial activity exhibited by PNMs can be categorized as passive or active. In passive mechanism, these PNMs repel microbes by steric repulsion, electrostatic repulsion, or by low surface energy. In active mechanism, these PNMs kill microbes by releasing antimicrobial agents or by contact-killing cationic surfaces. Due to antimicrobial property and nanosized structure, PNMs attain immense attention in the field of biomedical application as well as in other areas such as food, environment, packaging, and textile.

Keywords: Antimicrobial polymers, antimicrobial resistance, nanomaterials, targeted delivery, active mechanism, passive mechanism.

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