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Keywords:

  • chitosan;
  • cellulose;
  • composite material;
  • ionic liquid;
  • recyclable synthesis;
  • antimicrobial activities

Abstract

We have successfully developed a simple and totally recyclable method to synthesize novel, biocompatible, and biodegradable composite materials from cellulose (CEL) and chitosan (CS). In this method, [BMIm+Cl], an ionic liquid (IL), was used as a green solvent to dissolve and synthesize the [CEL+CS] composites. Since, the IL can be removed from the composites by washing them with water, and recovered by distilling the washed solution, the method is totally recyclable. Spectroscopic and imaging techniques including XRD, FTIR, NIR, and SEM were used to monitor the dissolution, to characterize and to confirm that CEL and CS were successfully regenerated. More importantly, we have successfully demonstrated that [CEL+CS] composite is particularly suited for many applications including antimicrobial property. This is because the composites have combined advantages of their components, namely superior chemical and mechanical stability (from CEL) and bactericide (from CS). Results of tensile strength measurements clearly indicate that adding CEL into CS substantially increase its tensile strength. Up to 5× increase in tensile strength can be achieved by adding 80% of CEL into CS. Results of in vitro antibacterial assays confirm that CS retains its antibacterial property in the composite. More importantly, the composites reported here can inhibit growth of wider range of bacteria than other CS-based materials prepared by conventional methods; that is over 24 h period, the composites substantially inhibited growth of bacteria such as MRSA, VRE, S. aureus, E. coli. These are bacteria that are often found to have the highest morbidity and mortality associated with wound infections. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2013.