Electron beam functionalized photodynamic polyethersulfone membranes – photophysical characterization and antimicrobial activity
Polymer membranes are powerful filtration tools in medicine and water treatment. Their efficiency and operational lifetime is limited by biofouling caused by microorganisms. This study describes the development of photodynamical active antimicrobial polymer membranes in a one-pot functionalization step using a well-known photosensitizer (PS). Commercially available polyethersulfone (PES) membranes for microfiltration were doped with the polycationic PS TMPyP using electron beam irradiation. These membranes were characterized in terms of binding stability and quantification of the PS and membrane morphology. Furthermore, the photodynamic ability was verified by time resolved singlet oxygen luminescence scans and successfully tested against the Gram-negative bacterium E. coli under low dose white light illumination resulting in the reduction in cell survival of 6 log10 units. Finally, in preliminarily experiments the photodynamic action against the Gram-positive bacteria M. luteus and the Gram-negative P. fluorescence and the mold C. cladosporioides was demonstrated. These promising results show the high photodynamic potential of electron beam functionalization of PES membranes with TMPyP. It preserves the photodynamic abilities of the immobilized PS resulting in efficient photodynamic inactivation of bacteria and mold on the membrane surface. The uprising worldwide spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria makes the development of new antibacterial strategies an inevitable challenge. The photodynamic inactivation of bacteria and its adaptation for antimicrobial surfaces, e.g. filtration membranes for water treatment, displays many advantages in terms of a wide application range, low mutagenic potential and environmental compatibility.