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Thermoresponsive Amphiphilic Functionalization of Thermally Reduced Graphene Oxide to Study Graphene/Bacteria Hydrophobic Interactions

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posted on 06.03.2019, 00:00 by Kok H. Tan, Shabnam Sattari, Siamak Beyranvand, Abbas Faghani, Kai Ludwig, Karin Schwibbert, Christoph Böttcher, Rainer Haag, Mohsen Adeli
An understanding of the interactions of 2D nanomaterials with pathogens is of vital importance to developing and controlling their antimicrobial properties. In this work, the interaction of functionalized graphene with tunable hydrophobicity and bacteria is investigated. Poly­(ethylene glycol)-block-(poly-N-isopropylacrylamide) copolymer (PEG-b-PNIPAM) with the triazine joint point was attached to the graphene surface by a nitrene [2 + 1] cycloaddition reaction. By thermally switching between hydrophobic and hydrophilic states, functionalized graphene sheets were able to bind to bacteria. Bacteria were eventually disrupted when the functionality was switched to the hydrophobic state. On the basis of measuring the different microscopy methods and a live/dead viability assay, it was found that Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are more susceptible to hydrophobic interactions than B. cereus bacteria, under the same conditions. Our investigations confirm that hydrophobic interaction is one of the main driving forces at the presented graphene/bacteria interfaces and promotes the antibacterial activity of graphene derivatives significantly.