University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance

Natural-Polymer Nanofiber Mats with Enhanced Antimicrobial Properties

Jessica Schiffman, Ph.D.
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).


  • High surface area
  • Contour to any surface
  • Broad-spectrum biocide
  • Tailor to variety of applications
  • Nano-scale fiber diameter
  • Feature green materials
  • High flux/porosity membrane

  • Drug delivery/wound healing scaffolds
  • Medical fabrics, surfaces, and devices
  • Military protective clothing and textiles
  • Agriculture protection from pesticides
  • Food processing and packaging
  • Anti-corrosive surface coating
  • Separation barriers
Dr. Jessica Schiffman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the

University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Schiffman lab focuses on using natural polymers to engineer

novel materials for a range of biomedical and environmental applications. Specific materials currently of

interest include drug delivery nanoparticles, anti-biofilm/anti-corrosion thin-film coatings, platforms for

pathogenic microbial detection, wound healing nanofiber scaffolds, as well as fouling-resistant

membranes for water purification and energy generation.

Available for Licensing and/or Sponsored Research
UMA 14-012
Patent pending
Burnley Jaklevic
Senior Licensing Officer
University of Massachusetts
Jessica Schiffman
Katrina Rieger