Supramolecular Peptoid Structure Strengthens Complexation with Polyacrylic Acid Microgels

Wenhan Zhao, Jennifer S. Lin, Josefine Eilsø Nielsen, Kristian Sørensen, Anand Sunil Wadurkar, Jingjing Ji, Annelise E. Barron, Shikha Nangia, Matthew R. Libera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the complexation between cationic antimicrobials and polyanionic microgels to create self-defensive surfaces that responsively resist bacterial colonization. An essential property is the stable sequestration of the loaded (complexed) antimicrobial within the microgel under a physiological ionic strength. Here, we assess the complexation strength between poly(acrylic acid) [PAA] microgels and a series of cationic peptoids that display supramolecular structures ranging from an oligomeric monomer to a tetramer. We follow changes in loaded microgel diameter with increasing [Na+] as a measure of the counterion doping level. Consistent with prior findings on colistin/PAA complexation, we find that a monomeric peptoid is fully released at ionic strengths well below physiological conditions, despite its +5 charge. In contrast, progressively higher degrees of peptoid supramolecular structure display progressively greater resistance to salting out, which we attribute to the greater entropic stability associated with the complexation of multimeric peptoid bundles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1281
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 12 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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