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Adsorbed poly(ethyleneoxide)–poly(propyleneoxide) copolymers on synthetic surfaces: spectroscopy and microscopy of polymer structures and effects on adhesion of skin-borne bacteria

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Poly(ethyleneoxide)–copoly(propyleneoxide) (PEO-PPO) polymer coatings were evaluated for their resistance to the attachment of the marker organism Serratia marcescens and the skin-borne bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis. The copolymers were adsorbed onto poly(styrene) films—chosen as simplified physicochemical models of skin surfaces—and their surface characteristics probed by contact angle goniometry, attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). These functional surfaces were then presented to microbial cultures, bacterial attachment was assessed by fluorescence microscopy and AFM, and the structures of the polymer films examined again spectroscopically. Surface characterization data suggest that the adsorbed copolymer was partially retained at the surface and resisted bacterial attachment for 24 h. Quantitative evaluation of cell attachment was carried out by scintillation counting of 14C-labeled microorganisms in conjunction with plate counts. The results show that a densely packed layer of PEO-PPO copolymer can reduce attachment of skin commensals by an order of magnitude, even when the coating is applied by a simple adsorptive process. The work supports the hypothesis that adhesion of microorganisms to biological substrates can be reduced if a pretreatment with an appropriate copolymer can be effected in vivo. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res 61: 641–652, 2002
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-652
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002

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