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Towards antimicrobial polymer materials: A new niche for clay/polymer nanocomposites pp.567-592 $100.00
Authors:  (Rinat Nigmatullin, Fengge Gao, Viktoria Konovalova, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, UK, and others)
Currently antimicrobial polymer materials are produced by either polymer
compounding with inorganic or organic biocides or by coating polymer surfaces with
biocidal molecules including chemical binding. The general problems with the additive
approach are poor compatibility between many biocides and majority polymers,
decreasing in mechanical and other major physical and engineering properties, biocide
leaching, loss of the ntimicrobial activity and environmental and health risks due to
leaching biocides. Coating especially via chemical binding can overcome many of these
problems. However, it requires an additional materials treatment, which can result in nonuniform
coatings, especially for articles of complex shapes. Therefore, in many
applications it would be beneficial to make antimicrobial materials and commodities
during the fabrication process.
In this chapter, a robust processing of polymers into antimicrobial materials is
introduced using polymer/clay nanotechnology. So far, the antimicrobial activity of
commercially available organoclays modified with cationic surfactants has been
overlooked. We have proven that commercially available organoclays modified with
cationic surfactants are efficient against gram-negative E. coli and gram-positive S.
aureus bacteria. Despite the leaching biocidal surfactants, cell interactions with
organoclays surface have been identified to be responsible for antimicrobial activity of
organoclays. Distribution of clay platelets within polymer matrix by melt extrusion
process resulted in polymer/clay nanocomposites active against both gram-positeve and
gram-negative bacteria by contact. Thus, organoclays modified with cationic surfactants
are able to render polymer nanocomposites biocidal. However, the cationic surfactants
used in the organoclay production migrate from the clays and nanocomposites. 

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Towards antimicrobial polymer materials: A new niche for clay/polymer nanocomposites pp.567-592