Antimicrobial Activities of Conducting Polymers and Their Composites

Moorthy Maruthapandi, Arumugam Saravanan, Akanksha Gupta, John H.T. Luong, Aharon Gedanken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Conducting polymers, mainly polyaniline (PANI) and polypyrrole (PPY) with positive charges bind to the negatively charged bacterial membrane to interfere with bacterial activities. After this initial electrostatic adherence, the conducting polymers might partially penetrate the bacterial membrane and interact with other intracellular biomolecules. Conducting polymers can form polymer composites with metal, metal oxides, and nanoscale carbon materials as a new class of antimicrobial agents with enhanced antimicrobial properties. The accumulation of elevated oxygen reactive species (ROS) from composites of polymers-metal nanoparticles has harmful effects and induces cell death. Among such ROS, the hydroxyl radical with one unpaired electron in the structure is most effective as it can oxidize any bacterial biomolecules, leading to cell death. Future endeavors should focus on the combination of conducting polymers and their composites with antibiotics, small peptides, and natural molecules with antimicrobial properties. Such arsenals with low cytotoxicity are expected to eradicate the ESKAPE pathogens: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-99
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

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  • ROS
  • antimicrobial
  • conducting polymers
  • nanoparticles
  • polymer composites


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