Polymeric Materials with Antibacterial Activity: A Review
Infections caused by bacteria are one of the main causes of mortality in hospitals all over the world. Bacteria can grow on many different surfaces and when this occurs, and bacteria colonize a surface, biofilms are formed. In this context, one of the main concerns is biofilm formation on medical devices such as urinary catheters, cardiac valves, pacemakers or prothesis. The development of bacteria also occurs on materials used for food packaging, wearable electronics or the textile industry. In all these applications polymeric materials are usually present. Research and development of polymer-based antibacterial materials is crucial to avoid the proliferation of bacteria. In this paper, we present a review about polymeric materials with antibacterial materials. The main strategies to produce materials with antibacterial properties are presented, for instance, the incorporation of inorganic particles, micro or nanostructuration of the surfaces and antifouling strategies are considered. The antibacterial mechanism exerted in each case is discussed. Methods of materials preparation are examined, presenting the main advantages or disadvantages of each one based on their potential uses. Finally, a review of the main characterization techniques and methods used to study polymer based antibacterial materials is carried out, including the use of single force cell spectroscopy, contact angle measurements and surface roughness to evaluate the role of the physicochemical properties and the micro or nanostructure in antibacterial behavior of the materials.