Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2019, vol 178, pp. 214-221
Poloxamer block copolymers (also known as Pluronic®) are particularly useful for drug delivery and self-assembly techniques. These nanopolymers are generally considered to be biologically inert and they were used to generate only bacteria repellent surfaces but keeps bacteria alive and as a latent threat. However, the inherent capabilities of these nanopolymers to kill bacteria have been largely overlooked. Here, we report that Pluronic shaped as superstructures (self-organized array of micelles) in fact possess a broad-spectrum bactericidal activity (capability of killing bacteria) similar to that shown for some antibiotics. This further represents the first report that shows that appropriate control of superstructured mesophase architecture is a key parameter for bactericidal efficacy. Based on this finding, we have developed a highly bactericidal coating (>99.9% kill) against all tested Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) and Gram-negative (Salmonella typhimurium LT2, Escherichia coli K12 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1) bacteria which moreover allows the adhesion and proliferation of mammalian cells. The inexpensiveness and ease of production make these versatile nanopolymer structures a powerful tool for the development of a new generation of highly effective antimicrobial coatings.