Non-leaching, highly biocompatible nanocellulose surfaces that efficiently resist fouling by bacteria in an artificial dermis model

Ghada Hassan, Nina Forsman, Xing Wan, Leena Keurulainen, Luis M. Bimbo, Susanne Stehl, Frits van Charante, Michael Chrubasik, Aruna S. Prakash, Leena-Sisko Johansson, Declan C. Mullen, Blair F. Johnston, Ralf Zimmermann, Carsten Werner, Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Tom Coenye, Per E. J. Saris, Monika Österberg, Vânia M. Moreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bacterial biofilm infections incur massive costs on healthcare systems worldwide. Particularly worrisome are infections associated to pressure ulcers and to the prosthetic, plastic and reconstructive surgery, where staphylococci are major biofilm-forming pathogens. Non-leaching antimicrobial surfaces offer great promise for the design of bioactive coatings to be used in medical devices. However, the vast majority are cationic which brings about undesirable toxicity. To circumvent this issue, we have developed antimicrobial nanocellulose films by direct functionalization of the surface with dehydroabietic acid derivatives. Our conceptually unique design generates non-leaching anionic surfaces that reduce the number of viable staphylococci in suspension, including drug-resistant S. aureus, by an impressive 4-5 log units, upon contact. Moreover, the films clearly prevent bacterial colonization of the surface in a model mimicking the physiological environment in chronic wounds. Their activity is not hampered by high protein content and they nurture fibroblast growth at the surface without causing significant hemolysis. In this work we have generated nanocellulose films with indisputable antimicrobial activity demonstrated using state-of-the-art models that best depict an “in vivo scenario”. Our approach is to use fully renewable polymers and find suitable alternatives to silver and cationic antimicrobials.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Early online date13 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2020


  • cellulose nanofibril
  • antimicrobial
  • surface
  • biofilm
  • dehydroabietic acid

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