Aminomalononitrile-Assisted Multifunctional Antibacterial Coatings

Medical device associated infections remain a significant problem for all classes of devices at this point in time. Here, we have developed a surface modification technique to fabricate multifunctional coatings that combine antifouling and antimicrobial properties. Zwitterionic polymers providing antifouling properties and quaternary ammonium containing polymers providing antimicrobial properties were combined in these coatings. Throughout this study, aminomalononitrile (AMN) was used to achieve one-step coatings incorporating different polymers. The characterization of coatings was carried out using static water contact angle (WCA) measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), profilometry, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), whereas the biological response in vitro was analyzed using Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli as well as L929 fibroblast cells. Zwitterionic polymers synthesized from sulfobetaine methacrylate and 2-aminoethyl methacrylate were demonstrated to reduce bacterial attachment when incorporated in AMN assisted coatings. However, bacteria in suspension were not affected by this approach. On the other hand, alkylated polyethylenimine polymers, synthesized to provide quaternary ammonium groups, were demonstrated to have contact killing properties when incorporated in AMN assisted coatings. However, the high bacterial attachment observed on these surfaces may be detrimental in applications requiring longer-term bactericidal activity. Therefore, AMN-assisted coatings containing both quaternary and zwitterionic polymers were fabricated. These multifunctional coatings were demonstrated to significantly reduce the number of live bacteria not only on the modified surfaces, but also in suspension. This approach is expected to be of interest in a range of biomedical device applications.