Antibacterial effect of boron nitride flakes with controlled orientation in polymer composites

Santosh Pandit, Karolina Gaska, V. R.S.S. Mokkapati, Sven Forsberg, Magnus Svensson, Roland Kádár*, Ivan Mijakovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Boron nitride (BN) is a stable 2D material with physiochemical properties similar to graphene-based nanomaterials. We have recently demonstrated that vertically aligned coatings of graphene-based nanomaterials provide strong antibacterial effects on various surfaces. Here we investigated whether BN, a nanomaterial with extensive similarities to graphene, might exhibit similar antibacterial properties. To test this, we developed a novel composite material using BN and low density polyethylene (LDPE) polymer. The composite was extruded under controlled melt flow conditions leading to highly structured morphology, with BN oriented in the extrusion flow direction. Nanocomposite extruded surfaces perpendicular to the flow direction were etched, thus exposing BN nanoparticles embedded in the matrix. The antimicrobial activity of extruded samples was evaluated against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus by the colony forming units (CFUs) counting method. Furthermore, the bactericidal effect of oriented BN against E. coli and S. aureus was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and live/dead viability assay. Our results suggest that BN nanoflakes on the extruded BN/LDPE composite physically interact with the bacterial cellular envelope, leading to irreparable physical damage. Therefore, we propose that BN-polymer composites might be useful to develop polymer based biomedical devices protected against bacterial adhesion, and thus minimize device associated infections.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number57
Pages (from-to)33454-33459
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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