University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Natural-Polymer Nanofiber Mats with Enhanced Antimicrobial Properties
This technology features flexible and porous nanofiber mats that deliver “green” active agents. The current antibacterial fibers are composed of a natural polymer derived from crab shells and a cinnamon extract. These materials can conform to any surface and are desirable in biomedical, environmental, and industrial applications. UMass Amherst researchers utilize the electrospinning process to generate novel non-woven chitosan- poly(ethylene oxide) nanofiber mats that deliver active agents. In the first instance, cinnamaldehyde, a non-toxic, antimicrobial, and anticorrosive agent derived from cinnamon bark has been attached to chitosan. Chitosan, an abundant biopolymer found primarily in crustascean shells provides hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and hemostatic properties. The U.S. and Europe has already approved of chitosan for use in commercial bandages. Materials composed of chitosan-cinnamaldehyde conjugates have already been proven effective against the gram negative bacteria, Escherichi coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These promising results suggest these nanofibers may have utility in wound care products and other flexible materials for biomedical applications. Moreover, this platform technology can be employed to generate materials with a range of antimicrobial or other beneficial properties by conjugating other essential oils (e.g. vanillin, thymol, eugenol) or small molecules (e.g. sugars, fragrances, vitamins).
Published: 11/4/2014   |   Inventor(s): Jessica Schiffman, Katrina Rieger
Category(s): Food technology & plant science, Therapeutics & prevention