Characterization of temperature and pH-responsive poly-N-isopropylacrylamide-co-polymer nanoparticles for the release of antimicrobials
Chitosan and alginate are both pH-responsive biopolymers extracted from crustacean exoskeletons and brown algae, respectively. Poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAAM) is a hydrogel that becomes hydrophobic at a lower-critical solution temperature. This study sought to combine pH- and temperature-responsive polymers via crosslinking, in order to create a dual-stimuli responsive polymer for hydrophobic antimicrobial compounds delivery, improving their antimicrobial effects. Cinnamon bark extract (CBE) was used as a model for hydrophobic antimicrobial. Two co-polymers were synthesized to create two nanoparticles types: chitosan-co-PNIPAAM and alginate-co-PNIPAAM. Nanoparticles were formed from the resulting co-polymers using a self-assembly top-down process followed by glutaraldehyde or calcium chloride crosslinking. These nanoparticles were then used as controlled delivery vehicles for CBE, whose rapid release could be triggered by specific external stimuli. For the same pH and temperature conditions, the chitosan-co-PNIPAAM nanoparticles were significantly more potent bacterial inhibitors against both pathogens and also exhibited a faster CBE release over time as well as slightly higher entrapment efficiency. The alginate-co-PNIPAAM nanoparticles were significantly smaller and exhibited a slow, gradual release over a long time period. Although both nanoparticles were able to effectively inhibit pathogen growth at lower (P < 0.05) concentration than free CBE, the chitosan-co-PNIPAAM nanoparticles were more effective in delivering a natural antimicrobial with controlled release against foodborne pathogens.