Biocompatible hyperbranched epoxy/silver–reduced graphene oxide–curcumin nanocomposite as an advanced antimicrobial material†
Fouling due to bacteria, fungi and algae is a serious problem in the domains of biomedical research, paints and coatings. Toxicity of the prevailing antimicrobial systems demands benign materials with adequate antimicrobial properties. In this context, thermosetting hyperbranched epoxy/silver–reduced graphene oxide–curcumin nanocomposites with antimicrobial attributes against bacteria, fungi and algae are reported here for the first time. The nanocomposite also exhibited high mechanical properties with tensile strength: 54–65 MPa and elongation at break: 17–21%. Ultrasonication, the ‘green’ tool was used to immobilize curcumin onto the silver–reduced graphene oxide nanohybrid. The nanocomposites inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans, the microorganisms found in surgical infection sites, with minimum inhibitory concentrations of 38 and 41 μg mL−1 at 3% loading of the immobilized nanohybrid. Further, the nanocomposite prevented the growth of the green microalgae Chlorella sp. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo bio-assays confirmed the biocompatibility of the prepared nanocomposite. This study endorses the nanocomposite as an efficient antimicrobial material for different advanced applications from biomedical domains to marine coatings.