Biomimetic recyclable microgels for on-demand generation of hydrogen peroxide and antipathogenic application

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Department of Biomedical Engineering; Department of Chemical Engineering; Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Microgels that can generate antipathogenic levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) through simple rehydration in solutions with physiological pH are described herein. H2O2 is a widely used disinfectant but the oxidant is hazardous to store and transport. Catechol, an adhesive moiety found in mussel adhesive proteins, was incorporated into microgels, which generated 1–5 mM of H2O2 for up to four days as catechol autoxidized. The sustained release of low concentrations of H2O2 was antimicrobial against both gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis) and gram-negative (Escherichia coli) bacteria and antiviral against both non-enveloped porcine parvovirus (PPV) and enveloped bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). The amount of released H2O2 is several orders of magnitude lower than H2O2 concentration previously reported for antipathogenic activity. Most notably, these microgels reduced the infectivity of the more biocide resistant non-envelope virus by 3 log reduction value (99.9% reduction in infectivity). By controlling the oxidation state of catechol, microgels can be repeatedly activated and deactivated for H2O2 generation. These microgels do not contain a reservoir for storing the reactive H2O2 and can potentially function as a lightweight and portable dried powder source for the disinfectant for a wide range of applications.

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Acta Biomaterialia