Paper of the week: Macroporous antibacterial hydrogels with tunable pore structures

‘Porous hydrogels with well-defined pore structure have attracted considerable attention due to their multifarious applications such as scaffolds for tissue engineering, vehicles for drug delivery and self-healing materials. CO2-in-water (C/W) high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs) and oil-in-water (O/W) HIPEs are considered as very effective templates to produce such kinds of high porosity hydrogels… In most cases, the O/W HIPEs are stabilized by large amounts of surfactants at high concentrations of 5–50 vol%, where the enormous quantity of surfactants presents economic and potential environmental problems. Therefore, much attention has been focused on the Pickering-HIPEs, which are stabilized by colloidal particles instead of traditional surfactants.’

Graphical abstract: Macroporous antibacterial hydrogels with tunable pore structures fabricated by using Pickering high internal phase emulsions as templates

In this work, Deng, Wang and co-workers prepared Artemisia argyi oil (AAO)-loaded macroporous antibacterial hydrogels by polymerization of oil-in-water Pickering HIPEs. The HIPEs were stabilized by the synergy of hydrophilic silica nanoparticles (N20) and surfactant Tween 80. The void interconnectivity and pore size of the hydrogels can be readily tailored by varying the concentrations of N20 nanoparticles and Tween 80. The in vitro release of the AAO-loaded hydrogels with different inner morphologies was evaluated and showed controlled release activity. The antibacterial activity of the AAO-loaded hydrogel was evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. This kind of hydrogel exhibited excellent and long-term antibacterial activity indicating its potential use in biomedical and infection prevention applications.

Macroporous antibacterial hydrogels with tunable pore structures fabricated by using Pickering high internal phase emulsions as templates by Shengwen Zou, Zengjiang Wei, Yang Hu, Yonghong Deng, Zhen Tonga and Chaoyang Wang, Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 4227-4234.

Julien Nicolas is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He currently works at Univ. Paris-Sud (FR) as a CNRS researcher.

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