Integrated PLGA–Ag nanocomposite systems to control the degradation rate and antibacterial properties



Biodegradable polymer based nanocomposite materials have attracted much attention since they can be used for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. In order to have highly integrated PLGA nanocomposite materials, silver colloidal nanoparticles were prepared in chloroform starting from silver nitrate and using polyvinylpyrrolidone as reduction and capping agent. TEM and AFM imaging give information on the size distribution of the silver nucleus (7.0 nm) and the capping shell (8.2–10.7 nm). PLGA–Ag nanocomposites were prepared upon addition of 1 or 3% wt of silver nanoparticles to the PLGA/chloroform suspension. The effect of silver loading on polymer degradation was studied following the mass loss and the morphology of nanocomposite films at different degradation stages. The concentrations of Ag+, which is released during nanocomposite degradation, were monitored and analyzed through the diffusion model, to have insight on the degradation kinetics. The release rate, and likely the degradation rate, was reduced at higher silver loading. Bacterial growth tests indicated that the cell growth is inhibited in the presence of PLGA–Ag nanocomposites and the efficiency is correlated to Ag+ release. Thus, controlling the nanoparticle loading, a tunable degradation and antibacterial action can be designed. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 1185-1193, 2013