Providing Antibacterial Activity to Poly(2-Hydroxy Ethyl Methacrylate) by Copolymerization with a Methacrylic Thiazolium Derivative
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Antimicrobial polymers and coatings are potent types of materials for fighting microbial infections, and as such, they have attracted increased attention in many fields. Here, a series of antimicrobial copolymers were prepared by radical copolymerization of 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), which is widely employed in the manufacturing of biomedical devices, and the monomer 2-(4-methylthiazol-5-yl)ethyl methacrylate (MTA), which bears thiazole side groups susceptible to quaternization, to
... ide a positive charge. The copolymers were further quantitatively quaternized with either methyl or butyl iodide, as demonstrated by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Then, the polycations were characterized by zeta potential measurements to evaluate their effective charge and by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to evaluate their thermal properties. The ζ-potential study revealed that the quaternized copolymers with intermediate compositions present higher charges than the corresponding homopolymers. The cationic copolymers showed greater glass transition temperatures than poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA), with values higher than 100 °C, in particular those quaternized with methyl iodide. The TGA studies showed that the thermal stability of polycations varies with the composition, improving as the content of HEMA in the copolymer increases. Microbial assays targeting Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria confirmed that the incorporation of a low number of cationic units into PHEMA provides antimicrobial character with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 128 µg mL−1. Remarkably, copolymers with MTA molar fractions higher than 0.50 exhibited MIC values as low as 8 µg mL−1.