Protecting surfaces from bacterial colonization and biofilm development is an important challenge for the medical sector, particularly when it comes to biomedical devices and implants that spend longer periods in contact with the human body. A particularly difficult challenge is ensuring long-term protection, which is usually attempted by ensuring sustained release of antibacterial compounds loaded onto various coatings. Graphene have a considerable potential to reversibly interact water insoluble molecules, which makes them promising cargo systems for sustained release of such compounds. In this study, we developed graphene coatings that act as carriers capable of sustained release of usnic acid (UA), and hence enable long-term protection of surfaces against colonization by bacterial pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Our coatings exhibited several features that made them particularly effective for antibiofilm protection: (i) UA was successfully integrated with the graphene material, (ii) a steady release of UA was documented, (iii) steady UA release ensured strong inhibition of bacterial biofilm formation. Interestingly, even after the initial burst release of UA, the second phase of steady release was sufficient to block bacterial colonization. Based on these results, we propose that graphene coatings loaded with UA can serve as effective antibiofilm protection of biomedical surfaces.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from SIO-Grafen, a joint investment of VINNOVA, Formas, and Energimyn-digheten, Formas and ÅForsk to I.M. and Vetenskapsrådet to S.P.
© 2021, The Author(s).