[en] Poly[2-(tert-butylamino)ethyl methacrylate] (PTBAEMA) belongs to a novel class of water-insoluble biocides. Dispersion of a poly(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-poly[2-(tert-butylamino)ethyl methacrylate] diblock copolymer (PEB-b-PTBAEMA) within low-density polyethylene (LDPE) imparts antimicrobial properties to the polyolefin as assessed by the viable cell counting method against Escherichia coli (E. coli). This diblock copolymer has been synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) with a poly(ethylene-co-butylene) (PEB) oligomer end-capped by an activated bromide as a macroinitiator for the polymerization of 2-(tert-butylamino)ethyl methacrylate (TBAEMA). Morphological changes of E. coli bacteria in contact with modified LDPE have been observed by transmission and scanning electron microscopy and indicate that the diblock copolymer is bactericide rather than bacteriostatic. Finally, the action mode of the PEB-b-PTBAEMA copolymer more likely relies on the displacement of the Ca2+ and/or Mg2+ ions of the outer membrane of the bacteria, which is disorganized and finally disrupted.
Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
The European Union in the SPAN project (Specialty Antimicrobial Polymeric Materials) ; Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS