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Ammonium, Phosphonium, and Sulfonium Polymers for Antimicrobial Applications: A Comparative Study

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posted on 2024-06-11, 06:29 authored by Yutong Gong, Xin Xu, Md Aquib, Yuhao Zhang, Wenting Yang, Yixin Chang, Hui Peng, Cyrille Boyer, Andrew K. Whittaker, Changkui Fu
Cationic polymers have gained significant attention as potent antimicrobial agents due to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. These polymers can interact with the negatively charged bacterial cell membranes, leading to the disruption of the bacterial membrane structure and ultimately causing the death of the bacteria. While quaternary ammonium is the most utilized cationic group in antimicrobial cationic polymers, there is an increasing interest in exploring other cationic groups, such as phosphonium and sulfonium, for antimicrobial applications. However, limited research has been conducted on comparing the effects of different types of cationic groups on the antimicrobial properties of these polymers. In this work, we synthesized three distinct classes of cationic polymers bearing ammonium, phosphonium, and sulfonium cations and conducted a comparative investigation into their cytotoxicity, hemolytic activity, and antimicrobial properties in order to unravel the different effects due to the types of cations on the bioactivity of the cationic polymers.

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