Eliminating the Need for Biocidal Agents in Anti-Biofouling Polymers by Applying Grafted Nanosilica Instead

Yonit Boguslavsky, Moshe Shemesh, Alon Friedlander, Roi Rutenberg, Anat Molad Filossof, Aviva Buslovich, Elena Poverenov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A nondestructive one-step approach was applied for grafting biocide-free monodispersed silica nanoparticles (SNPs) with a diameter of 30 ± 10 nm on polystyrene, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride surfaces. The prepared surfaces were comprehensively characterized using spectroscopic (Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflection, ultraviolet-visible, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) and microscopic (high-resolution scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy) methods. The modified polymers were found to maintain their original mechanical and physical properties, while their nanoroughness on the other hand had risen by 1.6-2.7 times because of SNP grafting. The SNP-grafted surfaces displayed anti-biofouling properties, resulting in a significant reduction in the attached Gram-positive Bacillus licheniformis or Gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria compared to their nongrafted counterparts. Confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy studies have confirmed that bacterial cells could not successfully adhere onto the SNP-grafted polymer films regardless of the polymer type, and their biofilm formation was therefore damaged. The presented facile and straightforward protocol allows eliminating the need for biocidal agents and resorts to grafted nanosilica instead. This strategy may serve as a feasible and safe platform for the development of sustainable anti-biofouling surfaces in biomedical devices; food, water, and air treatment systems; and industrial equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12437-12445
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number10
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the Israel Ministry of Science, grant number 421-0345-17. Contribution was received from the Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon Lezion, Israel, 803/ 18. The authors would like to thank Yulia Gololobova for her help with the microbiologic studies, Prof. Rony Wallach for his help in contact angle measurements, Dr. Tatyana Bendikov for her assistance in the XPS measurements and fruitful discussions, Dr. Ilya Shlar for his help with conducting the HR-SEM images, and Dani Assenheim (Ginegar Ltd.) for contributing polyethylene sheets.

FundersFunder number
Ministry of science and technology, Israel421-0345-17


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