Self-Defensive Antimicrobial Shape Memory Polyurethanes with Honey-Based Compounds

Maryam Ramezani, Emily Elizabeth Labour, Jingjing Ji, Anand Utpal Vakil, Changling Du, Thalma Kabeyi Orado, Shikha Nangia, Mary Beth Browning Monroe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Infection treatment plays a crucial role in aiding the body in wound healing. To that end, we developed a library of antimicrobial polymers based on segmented shape memory polyurethanes with nondrug-based antimicrobials (i.e., honey-based phenolic acids (PAs)) using both chemical and physical incorporation approaches. The antimicrobial shape memory polymers (SMPs) have high transition temperatures (>55 °C) to enable maintenance of temporary, programmed shapes in physiological conditions unless a specific external stimulus is present. Polymers showed tunable mechanical and shape memory properties by changing the ratio, chemistry, and incorporation method of PAs. Cytocompatible (∼100% cell viability) synthesized polymers inhibited growth rates of Staphylococcus aureus (∼100% with physically incorporated PAs and >80% with chemically incorporated PAs) and Escherichia coli (∼100% for samples with cinnamic acid (physical and chemical)). Crystal violet assays showed that all formulations inhibit biofilm formation in surrounding solutions, and chemically incorporated samples showed surface antibiofilm properties with S. aureus. Molecular dynamics simulations confirm that PAs have higher levels of interactions with S. aureus cell membranes than E. coli. Long-term antimicrobial properties were measured after storage of the sample in aqueous conditions; the polymers retained their antimicrobial properties against E. coli after up to 20 days. As a proof of concept, magnetic particles were incorporated into the polymer to trigger user-defined shape recovery by applying an external magnetic field. Shape recovery disrupted preformed S. aureus biofilms on polymer surfaces. This antimicrobial biomaterial platform could enable user- or environmentally controlled shape change and/or antimicrobial release to enhance infection treatment efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • antimicrobial
  • biofilms
  • phenolic acids
  • polyurethane
  • shape memory polymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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