Direct covalent attachment of silver nanoparticles on radical-rich plasma polymer films for antibacterial applications
Prevention and treatment of biomaterial-associated infections (BAI) are imperative requirements for the effective and long-lasting function of orthopedic implants. Surface-functionalization of these materials with antibacterial agents, such as antibiotics, nanoparticles and peptides, is a promising approach to combat BAI. The well-known silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in particular, although benefiting from strong and broad-range antibacterial efficiency, have been frequently associated with mammalian cell toxicity when physically adsorbed on biomaterials. The majority of irreversible immobilization techniques employed to fabricate AgNP-functionalized surfaces are based on wet-chemistry methods. However, these methods are typically substrate-dependent, complex, and time-consuming. Here we present a simple and dry strategy for the development of polymeric coatings used as platforms for the direct, linker-free covalent attachment of AgNPs onto solid surfaces using ion-assisted plasma polymerization. The resulting coating not only exhibits long-term antibiofilm efficiency against adherent Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), but also enhances osteoblast adhesion and proliferation. High resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), before and after sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) washing, confirms covalent bonding. The development of such silver-functionalized surfaces through a simple, plasma-based process holds great promise for the fabrication of implantable devices with improved tissue-implant integration and reduced biomaterial associated infections.