Functional Carboxymethylcellulose/Zein Bionanocomposite Films Based on Neomycin Supported on Sepiolite or Montmorillonite Clays

The present work introduces new functional bionanocomposite materials based on layered montmorillonite and fibrous sepiolite clays and two biopolymers (carboxymethylcellulose polysaccharide and zein protein) to produce drug-loaded bionanocomposite films for antibiotic topical delivery. Neomycin, an antibiotic indicated for wound infections, was employed as the model drug in this study. The physical properties and the antimicrobial activity of these materials were evaluated as a function of the type of hybrid and the amount of zein protein incorporated in the bionanocomposite films. In addition, the interfacial and physicochemical properties of these new clay–drug hybrids have been studied through a combination of experimental and computational methodologies, where the computational studies confirm the intercalation of neomycin into the montmorillonite layers and the possible penetration of the drug in the tunnels of sepiolite, as pointed out by N2 adsorption and X-ray diffraction techniques. The antimicrobial activity of these bionanocomposite materials show that the films based on montmorillonite–neomycin display a more pronounced inhibitory effect of the bacterial growth than those prepared with the sepiolite–neomycin hybrid. Such effect can be related to the difficult release of neomycin adsorbed on sepiolite due to a strong interaction between both components.