Amplified antimicrobial action of chlorhexidine encapsulated in PDAC-functionalized acrylate copolymer nanogel carriers
We have developed and tested a novel functionalised nanocarrier for chlorhexidine (CHX) which provides a very strong enhancement of its antimicrobial action. The nanocarrier was based on lightly-cross-linked acrylate copolymer nanogel particles loaded with CHX followed by a surface functionalisation with the cationic polyelectrolyte poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDAC). We explored the antimicrobial effect of the PDAC-coated CHX-loaded nanogel carriers on E. coli, S. auresus, C. cerevisiae and C. reinhardtii and discovered that it is much higher than that of solution with equivalent overall concentration of free CHX. Our experiments also showed a marked increase of the cationic CHX-loaded nanocarriers antimicrobial action on these microorganisms at shorter incubation times compared with the non-coated CHX-loaded nanogel particles at the same CHX concentration and other conditions. We attribute the increase in the antimicrobial activity of the cationically-functionalised nanogel carrier to its electrostatic adhesion to the microbial cells walls which allows much higher CHX concentration to be delivered directly onto the cell surface. The results of this study can be used for development of novel more efficient antialgal, antifungal and antibacterial formulations based on cationically functionalised nanogels. Our method can also be used for boosting the effect of other cationic antimicrobial agents by encapsulating them in cationically-functionalised nanogel carriers. This nanotechnological approach could potentially lead to developing more effective antimicrobial and disinfecting agents, dental formulations for plaque control, wound dressings, antialgal/antibiofouling formulations and novel antifungal agents.