Polyelectrolyte multilayer nanocoating dramatically reduces bacterial adhesion to polyester fabric

Ryan J. Smith, Madeleine G. Moule, Preeti Sule, Travis Smith, Jeffrey D. Cirillo, Jaime C. Grunlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bacterial adhesion to textiles is thought to contribute to odor and infection. Alternately exposing polyester fabric to aqueous solutions of poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) is shown here to create a nanocoating that dramatically reduces bacterial adhesion. Ten PDDA/PAA bilayers (BL) are 180 nm thick and only increase the weight of the polyester by 2.5%. The increased surface roughness and high degree of PAA ionization leads to a surface with a negative charge that causes a reduction in adhesion of Staphylococcus aureus by 50% when compared to uncoated fabric, after rinsing with sterilized water, because of electrostatic repulsion. S. aureus bacterial adhesion was quantified using bioluminescent radiance measured before and after rinsing, revealing 99% of applied bacteria were removed with a ten bilayer PDDA/PAA nanocoating. The ease of processing, and benign nature of the polymers used, should make this technology useful for rendering textiles antifouling on an industrial scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1852
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number8
Early online date15 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017


  • layer by layer assembly
  • bacterial adhesion
  • bioluminescence
  • atomic force microscopy
  • antifouling


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