Single Step Plasma Process for Covalent Binding of Antimicrobial Peptides on Catheters to Suppress Bacterial Adhesion

Clara Thao Hoang Tran, Muhamed Yasir, Debarun Dutta, Nithya Eswaramoorthy, Natalka Suchowerska, Mark Willcox, David R. Mckenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Catheter-associated biofilms are responsible for a large fraction of hospital acquired infections. Antimicrobial surface coating on catheters providing prevention at source is extensively studied to reduce bacterial adhesion. Antimicrobial peptides such as melimine and Mel4, covalently linked to surfaces have shown excellent potential in animal and human studies to suppress infection without toxicity. Covalent binding of the peptides on catheter surfaces improves efficacy but so far has been implemented using multi-step wet chemical coupling that will impede widespread adoption. Here we demonstrate plasma immersion ion implantation (PIII) as a single step treatment that covalently couples antimicrobial peptides to polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Strong antimicrobial activity was demonstrated by higher than 3 log kill of S. aureus. A variant of the process was demonstrated as an antimicrobial treatment for chemically inert glass surfaces. Covalent coupling was rigorously tested by stringent SDS washing. We further demonstrated that the plasma treatment can effectively functionalize both internal and external surfaces of catheter tubing, reducing 99% of bacterial adhesion. The process is feasible as a patient-safe treatment for treating various types of catheters and is suitable for commercial mass production. In a logical extension of the work, the process could be adapted to bone replacement scaffolds of all types including metallic, polymeric and ceramic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5739-5748
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number12
Early online date1 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in ACS Appl. Bio Mater., copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

Funding: Australian Research Council (Grand No. DP170102086), University
of New South Wales.


  • antimicrobial peptide
  • catheters
  • melimine
  • plasma coating
  • plasma immersion ion implantation


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